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Colorado and Australia Build a Community of Practice for Change Management

By Cynthia Case, Michael Avery and Karl Onsager, Process Improvement Interns
Dec. 5, 2017

Building a Community of Practice
Left to right: Simon Lynch (CSIRO), Michael Avery (CDOT), Cheryl Wright (CDOT), Laura Parsons (CDOT), Chloe Sanders (CDOT), Rod Harper (CSIRO), Herman Stockinger (CDOT), Michelle Malloy (CDOT)

In mid-2017, the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) visited CDOT as part of a benchmarking study, the start of wonderful collaboration—a "community of practice"—for change management.

Change is in every industry, and formally implementing change management improves organizational success, employee engagement, and project adoption. At CDOT, change managers aim to ensure every employee is successful with every change. This work has earned it recognition as an industry leader.

CDOT developed and implemented its change management program using the Prosci Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement (ADKAR) Model, which it also uses to train and coach other employees. Prosci, a change management research, and training organization headquartered in Fort Collins, helps individuals and organizations build change management capabilities.

Another key component of CDOT's change management program is the Change Agent Network (CAN), which is integral to effectively communicate about organizational change.

CSIRO's growing interest in formal change management initiatives among public-sector agencies—especially CDOT's use of the CAN—brought its team to Colorado. A public-sector organization, CSIRO shares some similarities with CDOT as both have large and physically decentralized workforces.

"Everything we do is focused on creating measurable economic, environmental and social benefits that better our world and Australia's place in it," said Dr. Simon Lynch, executive manager for organizational development and change at CSIRO.


awareness of the need for change
desire to support the change
knowledge of how to change
ability to demonstrate skills & behaviors
reinforcement to make the change stick

CSIRO's 2017 Visit

CSIRO learned about CDOT's success with change management through a Prosci article highlighting CDOT's CAN.

"We used this to understand the potential of our own Business Unit Change Leader (BUCL) Network, and that thinking has helped to shape the direction of this group in making a positive contribution at CSIRO", Lynch said.

CDOT Office of Process Improvement Director Gary Vansuch and Michelle Malloy, program leader for change management services, attended and participated in a CSIRO transformational and adaptive leadership workshop. CSIRO then scheduled a visit to CDOT.

The peer exchange of ideas was beneficial to all involved.

"It was an honor to highlight our programs with such eager practitioners," Malloy said. "It was helpful for us to reflect on our success, but also the challenges we face."

Rod Harper, CSIRO's manager of organizational change, spoke of the experience, saying, "we continue to benefit from the thinking and insights you brought to us late last year."

Since its team's meeting, CSIRO has brought on the insights around the Lean ideas framework and shared with CDOT's recently formed "Taking Action" working group, helping to sort out a number of CSIRO's issues related to processes.

CSIRO also immediately started recruiting change management interns from Melbourne's Monash University and has since hired one to work on its intranet, coordinate change management training and bring together its BUCL Network.

Want to learn more about Change Management at CDOT?
Check out our improvement efforts at the Office of Process Improvement’s website! Or, for CDOT employees, stop by the Change Hub on our Intranet!

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