Change Readiness Assessment

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Change Readiness Assessment

Is your organization ready to take on a major change? Find out.


by Rick Maurer

A change readiness assessment answers the question, Where are we today? The assessment looks at past practices and the current situation. Here is a short questionnaire that can help you begin that assessment. Ask a cross-section of people in the organization to complete it. Often, your own vantage point only allows you to see a portion of the whole picture: other departments and levels within the organization will give you a more complete view of where things stand.

1. History of Change (What’s our track record handling change?)

2. Direction (Do people throughout the organization understand corporate values and vision?)

3. Cooperation and Trust (Do people share information and play nice together?)

4. Culture (Is this an organization that supports risk taking and change?)

5. Resilience (Can people handle more change?)

6. Rewards (Do people believe this change will benefit them?)

7. Respect, Control, and Saving Face (Will people be able to maintain dignity and self-respect?)

8. Status Quo (How disruptive will this change be?)

9. Skilled at Managing Change

The people leading change need to be adept at a number of skills such as creating alignment among diverse interests, listening, getting concerns, fears, and interests up on the table, articulating a compelling vision (or work with others to create a shared vision), anticipating and responding appropriately to resistance, communicating by keeping people informed.


Here are a few things to consider when interpreting the results of the questionnaire.

Numbers Need Explanation

Even though 1, 2 and 3 should be considered low sores, 4 and 5 mid-range, 6 and 7 high, these are just numbers. One person’s 5 is another’s 3. The value lies in understanding the meanings people give to their scores. However, low to mid-range scores should be cause for concern. Lower scores indicate fertile soil for the growth of resistance.

Look for Patterns

Are scores clustered together on particular items? If so, this probably indicates that most people agree about support for change on that scale.

Are the scores split? Perhaps non-management staff consistently rate things low while supervisors rate things high.

A pattern of high scores may indicate that the resistance will be Level 1 resistance limited to the change itself. The culture and history are such that people probably feel free to speak their minds. Therefore, conversations about the change should be easier to facilitate.

A pattern of low scores indicates deep (probably Level 3) concerns. You must take these concerns seriously. Take a long-range view of change; get people involved, and begin building bridges.

Any Low or Mid-range scores indicate resistance waiting to happen.

Mid-range scores may indicate that there are concerns deeper than the change itself (Level 2). It will be important to get these issues out on the table for discussion.

There are no right or wrong answers. Scores merely reflect people’s perceptions.

For further information on interpretation of the Change Readiness Assessment, see Chapter 8, Beyond the Wall of Resistance. Rick Maurer. Bard Press. Austin. 1996.