Knowledge does not equal ability in the change management process

Following on from the first two of my ADKAR®  blogs, this blog will cover the third and fourth steps in the ADKAR® model for change – knowledge and ability.

Knowledge is the third step in the ADKAR® Model however it is only effective when the individual already has awareness of the change and desire to participate in it.

Generally speaking this step poses the fewest issues as most organisations have a dedicated and experienced training department. However that being said, it is important to differentiate between the two distinct types of knowledge that must be supported.

The first is knowledge of change behaviours that will be required during the transition, and the second is knowledge of how to perform optimally in their role to support the change. Such knowledge will need to be incorporated in the individual’s development plan.

Things to consider when developing the plan:

  • Gap between current knowledge levels and desired knowledge levels
  • Time constraints
  • Ensuring training resources are readily available
  • Ensuring employees have willingness and capacity to both learn and perform their daily duties.

Following knowledge comes the fourth step in the ADKAR® Model – ability. It is important to understand that knowledge is not equivalent to ability. Successfully promoting ability requires hands-on practice and support.

In other words employees must be given the necessary tools to develop their ability. In addition to tools, employees will require time to practice, exposure to coaching or role modelling behaviour together with feedback and advice.

All in all, ability is the stage in the process where the change actually takes root and achieves measurable results.

Be sure to look out for the last blog in the ADKAR® series in which blog I will be tackling the last step – reinforcement-and why it is an essential part of the change management process.

Source: Jeff Hiatt’s ADKAR® model for change
disclaimer: ADKAR is a registered trademark of Prosci, Inc.