In an individual’s change process, results, and outcomes first emerge at the ability stage. New behaviors are successfully achieved, and the future state starts to take shape. With the demonstrated ability, change is realized.

Ability means tangible, demonstrating the application of intellectual understanding in a real-world environment. Change leaders impact project success by intentionally providing time, resources and coaching to help impacted employees develop new skills and behaviors.

There is a discrete difference between knowing how to do something and being able to do it. In fact, the gap between knowledge and ability can often be quite large. Athletics provides one of the clearest examples of this gap. Understanding the strategy and the mechanisms for running 1 mile in under four minutes is attainable for most people. Only a very small percentage of the population will ever have the ability to successfully execute that feat. The presence of knowing how to change by itself is often insufficient to fully realize new behavior’s proficiently.

Ensure that in addition to the training that imports knowledge, employees are also given sufficient time and tools for developing their abilities. To successfully build new skills and behaviors, most employees do best in a supportive environment where they can practice and where it is safe to make mistakes.

Building ability is an individualized process. The time and steps involved will vary from person-to-person. Some individuals will fall naturally into the new way of work, while others may not adjust with the same ease.

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