Navigating Change: The 3-Stage Change Management Process

Change is inevitable, especially in today’s fast-paced and dynamic world. Whether it’s implementing new technology or restructuring processes, organizations must effectively manage change to thrive and remain competitive. However, change can be disruptive and challenging to navigate without a clear strategy in place. This is where change management comes into play—a structured approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from their current state to a desired future state.


In this blog, we’ll explore Just in Time GCP’s 3-stage change management process, breaking down each stage, discussing key activities, challenges, and best practices, and emphasizing the importance of a strategically managing change.


Stage 1: Prepare the Approach

The first stage of the change management process is preparation. This stage involves laying the groundwork for change by assessing the current state, defining goals and objectives, and building a compelling case for change. Key activities in this stage include:

  1. Assessment and Analysis: Conduct a thorough assessment of the organization’s current state, including its culture, processes, and capabilities. Identify areas impacted by the change and potential barriers to success. To do so, perform an Impact Assessment.
  2. Goal Setting: Define clear, measurable objectives for the change initiative. These goals should be aligned with the organization’s strategic priorities and address the identified areas for improvement.
  3. Stakeholder Engagement: Identify and engage key stakeholders who will be affected by the change. Begin to communicate the reasons for change, address concerns, and solicit feedback to ensure buy-in and support throughout the process. Develop a Stakeholder Plan to define engagement with targeted groups and individuals, and a Stakeholder Map to categorize management of stakeholders. Look out for more tips and tricks on this topic in the next blog, Overcoming Resistance and Engaging Stakeholders.

Challenges in the preparation stage often stem from resistance to change, lack of clarity about the objectives, or insufficient stakeholder engagement. To overcome these challenges, it’s essential to communicate openly and transparently, involve stakeholders early in the process, and emphasize the benefits of the proposed changes. This will all contribute to the development of your Change Management Strategy.


Stage 2: Manage Change

Once the groundwork has been laid, the focus shifts to the management stage, where the actual implementation of change takes place. This stage involves planning, executing, and monitoring change initiatives to ensure they stay on track and deliver the desired outcomes. Key activities in this stage include:

  1. Change Planning: Develop a detailed Change Management Plan outlining the steps needed to implement the change, including timelines, responsibilities, and resources required. Consider potential risks and develop mitigation strategies to address them. This plan is the high-level blueprint that outlines the process and deliverables needed to manage and sustain change.
  2. Communication: Communicate regularly with stakeholders to keep them informed about the progress of the change initiative. Develop a Communication Strategy to define the engagement frequency and messaging of a communication group (i.e. Steering Committee, Monthly Newsletter) for a target audience.​ Use a Communication Plan to describe each individual communication, and event planned for a program or project. The intent is to provide a holistic view of the audience, objectives, and timing.
  3. Training:  Provide training and support to help individuals and teams adapt to new processes or technologies. To do so, begin by conducting a Training Needs Assessment to understand training requirements and identify any knowledge gaps. From this, develop a detailed Training Plan to map training items, objectives, channel, trainees, trainers, training date and time, training location, and other information, as needed for a successful training implementation.​
  4. Monitoring and Feedback: Monitor the implementation of change closely, gathering feedback from stakeholders and assessing progress against predefined milestones. Be prepared to adjust the plan as needed based on lessons learned and changing circumstances.

Challenges in the management stage often arise from resistance from within the organization, lack of resources or expertise, and unforeseen obstacles. To overcome these challenges, it’s crucial to maintain open lines of communication, provide support and resources to those affected by the change, and remain flexible and adaptable in response to feedback and changing circumstances.


Stage 3: Sustain Outcomes

The final stage of the change management process is sustainability, where the focus shifts to ensuring that the changes implemented are embedded into the organization’s culture and processes for the long term. Key activities in this stage include:

  1. Track and Measure: Develop Adoption Metrics to measure success and use tools such as surveys to gather feedback and adapt as needed. Be sure to also have Training Success Criteria to evaluate training delivery through trainer feedback, training completion percentages, training comprehension scores, and more.
  2. Celebration and Recognition: Celebrate successes and recognize the contributions of individuals and teams involved in the change initiative. This helps reinforce positive behaviors and build momentum for future change efforts.
  3. Continuous Improvement: Foster a culture of continuous improvement by encouraging feedback, learning from both successes and failures, and making adjustments as needed to drive ongoing innovation and growth.

Challenges in the sustainability stage often stem from complacency or a lack of follow-through. To overcome these challenges, it’s essential to maintain momentum by celebrating achievements, fostering a culture of learning and adaptation, and ensuring ongoing support and reinforcement of the desired changes.


Change is a constant in today’s business environment, and effective change management is essential for organizations to thrive and remain competitive. By following the 3-stage change management process—Prepare, Manage, Sustain—and adopting a systematic approach, organizations can successfully navigate change, drive innovation, and achieve their desired objectives.


~Meghan Zuchlewski, Business Analyst

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