Managing and facilitating change is a challenging prospect for organizations of all shapes and sizes no matter the industry. For the U.S. Navy’s four public shipyards, the introduction of formal change management is underway to support Naval Sustainment System-Shipyards efforts to usher in new business and production operations, processes and practices.

“The Prosci® change management methodology recognizes that it really is not accurate to say that organizations change,” said Walt Channell, division head, Lean Transformation and Change Management Office, Code 100PI. “For an organization to change, each individual within must change, and it is the collection of healthy individual changes that result in effective organizational change. Change management is an enabling framework for managing the people side of change.”

The primary purpose behind NSS-SY leveraging change management is to assist both management and the workforce in the adoption of strategic changes to processes and procedures. The intended result is increased throughput and the preservation of Naval Sea Systems Command’s competitive advantage.

For the last several years, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility has invested in building up its change management resources because it recognized the value of being focused on the people side of change—how people embrace, adopt and utilize changes, and how this delivers organizational results. The value of change management application is spreading to the other shipyards and across the NAVSEA enterprise.

By bringing employees into the change management process, referred to as the ADKAR® method, individuals are able to evaluate themselves and become proactive participants rather than reactive bystanders in the change process.

The acronym ADKAR® stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement, and is defined as follows:

• Awareness for the need for change.

• Desire to participate and support the change.

• Knowledge on how to change.

• Ability to implement required skills and behaviors.

• Reinforcement to sustain the change.

Prosci® refers to it as the individual change model that follows a linear progression of a person’s current state of behaving and operating to a desired future state. Each individual progresses through the ADKAR® method at their own pace as part of an overall change management plan to ensure long-term success and buy-in.

PSNS & IMF’s change management program resides in Code 100PI, who trains change management practitioners to help facilitate organizational change across the shipyard. The shipyard’s NSS-SY team is working with each project to identify core roles on each team including, embedded change managers and sponsors, who are to be trained by Code 100PI, and will be strategically used on each project to smoothly shepherd in change across the waterfront. Each change effort brought on by NSS-SY (e.g. the Operation Control Center and Supervisor Support Meeting for the Waterfront Pillar, or the Production Control Center and Work Center Transformations for the Inside Shop Pillar) will require change managers to facilitate successful and sustainable implementation.

“In addition to the individual’s journey through the ADKAR® method, the most important aspect of change management is ultimately the sponsorship,” said Chris Carlsen, PSNS & IMF’s NSS-SY champion. “Without effective sponsorship none of the efforts will be successful.”

Successful sponsorship requires active and visible participation throughout the project, building a coalition of peers and managers to help progress the change, and communicating directly with impacted employees about why the change is happening and the expected results. Each of the NSS-SY initiatives has a sponsor to find out who to talk to—your local pillar lead or your code/shop NSS-SY advocate.

While remaining focused on the human element of change, the shipyard’s NSS-SY team is also taking a technical approach by creating the structure and framework required to establish interventions and pilot programs. Embedded change managers are flexible and agile, with the ability to scale change to individual projects based on their area of responsibility. What works for an aircraft carrier team may require modification to be suitable for a submarine project.

“As NSS-SY efforts gain momentum, the healthy and effective adoption of changes will be an integral part of the overall plan to improve the shipyard,” said Channell.