How vital are change practitioners’ foundational skills?

Change practitioners’ core competencies involve learning the fundamentals.

This can happen via an organization’s Change Center of Excellence (CCoE), the ACMP Global Standard©, or a methodological certification like Prosci for continuously adopting a fresh mindset and strategy.

Capable practitioners use their core competencies to help staff prioritize adoption as a key duty.

This means they recognize that change is inevitable, anticipate it, and seamlessly adapt it through periods of organizational change management in the age of disruption.

Predictions suggest the value of the global change management market will reach USD 4.8 billion by 2033

However, this investment will only be offered to change practitioners who exhibit their core competencies as superior resources to show their value to enterprises experiencing massive changes.

It is predicted that the administrative aspects of change management like stakeholder analysis, change assessments, and change impact risk assessments will likely be completed by AI.

Therefore, this leaves the soft skill competencies as areas that are imperative to develop.

What are the top 5 change practitioner competencies with examples?

There are five competencies for change management that practitioners need to be successful in change management in the future.

Employers will look for these competencies to ensure hiring the correct change practitioner.

Hence, every practitioner needs to be aware of them and record how they demonstrate them throughout their years of practice.

1. Leadership and vision

Leadership and vision are essential competencies in change management.

They entail grasping the organization’s goals, values, and direction, inspiring and motivating others to attain them.

Proficient leaders articulate a compelling future vision and foster trust among stakeholders, fostering a shared purpose and alignment.

Particularly crucial in change periods, they instill direction, purpose, and enthusiasm, driving momentum for the initiative.

Therefore, change practitioners need to become very proficient in interpreting the vision, goals and direction.

They must also become adept at applying that interpretation to key elements in the change management plan.

Either way, this will not change in the future.

However, artificial intelligence (AI) will be able to offer support in identifying and phrasing key messages that may be the most impactful in the change management work.


One of the best examples of effective change leadership and vision is Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, who ended her tenure in 2018.

At Pepsi, she empowered her team and nurtured innovation and diversity.

Her focus on sustainability, which the company maintains today, minimized the company’s ecological footprint.

She also harmonized shareholder concerns with social accountability, leaving behind a heritage of advancement and beneficial transformation through successful change management skills to manage change resistance.

2. Communication and engagement

This competency involves adeptly conveying the necessity for change to stakeholders and involving them in the change journey.

It encompasses crafting a thorough communication strategy, choosing suitable channels, and customizing messages for diverse audiences.

It also involves stakeholders by seeking input and addressing their apprehensions.

Proficient communication and engagement are crucial in periods of change as they foster trust, credibility, ownership, and commitment to the change endeavor.

By actively engaging stakeholders and maintaining transparent communication, change managers can mitigate resistance and enhance the prospects of success.

One key challenge for many companies today is how to communicate and engage “non-wired workers”.

This refers to employees who do not have company computers available to them in their jobs.

Examples include vehicle drivers, on-site cleaners, and housekeepers.

Only 12% of HR and other communication professionals prioritized non-wired workers as important stakeholders for communication.

Finally, change crisis communication strategies can help avoid crises or mitigate the negative effects of crises.

This is a very important aspect of change management communication that is often overlooked.

It happens because commonly corporate communication departments are not in sync with change management communication on project teams.

Therefore, there is a lot of learning for change management practitioners to be had from corporate communication.

Both areas could benefit from excellence in crisis communication.


One of the strongest examples of a change leader communicating effectively to engage their organization is Satya Nadella, current CEO of Microsoft.

Nadella effectively communicates Microsoft’s vision for innovation and change using her skills to foster employee engagement in change initiatives and engage with stakeholders through clear and inspiring messaging.

Nadella’s strong communication and engagement were vital in 2015 when he launched the unified OS platform Windows 10, which now has a 73% market share

3. Problem-solving and decision-making

Problem-solving and decision-making present formidable challenges as they entail significant accountability for change practitioners’ post-identification and resolution of issues during the change journey.

This proficiency encompasses data analysis, pattern recognition, solution formulation and execution.

Additionally, it entails making informed decisions based on data, stakeholder input, and organizational objectives.

Some of the new change management technologies like SaaS change management platforms (e.g.,ChangeSync) can immediately support change managers in doing this work.

Founder and CEO, Kate DeGon, a previous change management consultant herself, identifies with the importance of having effective tools to enable change management effectiveness.

This is because effective problem-solving and decision-making are pivotal during change as they mitigate adverse effects and enhance the chances of success.

By promptly addressing and resolving issues, change managers can mitigate setbacks, maintain momentum, and steer the change initiative towards success.

This competency is again imperative to master as AI encroaches into the change manager’s work.

It is because the most important jobs that a computer won’t be able to do are problem-solving, critical-thinking, and decision-making.


Household products giant Proctor & Gamble (P&G) revamped its approach to innovation from 2006 to 2008 by decentralizing decision-making and engaging external partners in the problem-solving process

This strategy allowed P&G to leverage external expertise and resources to develop innovative products.

Plus, it enabled them to respond effectively to changing consumer preferences through effective change management practices.

As a result, they exemplified new approaches to problem-solving and decision-making by decentralizing how they made decisions to encompass a broader range of perspectives to make more comprehensive decisions.

4. Resilience and adaptability

Resilience and adaptability denote the capacity to adapt to evolving circumstances and endure challenges.

This skill encompasses focusing on organizational goals amidst unexpected hurdles and embracing novel ideas and strategies.

In times of change, resilience, and adaptability are paramount.

This is due to the often uncertain nature of change endeavors and the possibility of encountering unforeseen barriers.

One other core competency that is worthy of mention is coaching, known as the Coach Approach or applying coaching skills to change management consulting work.

This approach can make the difference in the way that change managers are able to build resilience and help their clients adapt to the changes one conversation at a time.

Thus, change managers who prioritize organizational objectives and remain flexible in adopting new methodologies can effectively maneuver through these obstacles and advance toward their goals.


Mary Barra, CEO of car manufacturer General Motors, led GM through significant changes, including restructuring the company after the 2008 financial crisis and refocusing on electric and autonomous vehicles

Her resilience and adaptability have been evident in her leadership through industry challenges and technological advancements.

She led her organization to success despite all the challenges General Motors faced.

5. Stakeholder management

Stakeholder management is a critical competency in change management, encompassing the ability to proficiently recognize and attend to the interests, needs, and anxieties of those impacted by a change effort.

This competency entails identifying pertinent stakeholders, understanding their motivations and apprehensions, and devising strategies for engagement and communication.

In periods of change, adept stakeholder management is paramount, given stakeholders’ potential to influence the change endeavor’s outcome.

Therefore, by comprehending and addressing their concerns and requirements, change managers can garner backing for the change initiative and mitigate resistance.

Again, the competency of coaching can fully increase a change manager’s impact in having stakeholder conversations.

Thus, the combination of completing accurate stakeholder analysis and executing on the stakeholder strategies that have the most impact for the change initiative.


Apple CEO Tim Cook has demonstrated effective stakeholder management by maintaining strong relationships with Apple’s diverse stakeholders, including customers, employees, suppliers, and investors.

His transparent communication and inclusive decision-making have helped build trust and support for Apple’s new product launches like Apple Vision Pro, which was launched successfully in 2024 and predictions suggest it will hit 12.6 million units sold by 2028.

This successful innovation is partly due to the funding acquired for research into new products through strong stakeholder management, one of Cook’s core change management skills.

Futureproof your change practitioner core competencies to prepare for the next “new normal”.

Again, the five core competencies for change practitioners are

  • leadership and vision,
  • communication and engagement,
  • problem-solving and decision-making,
  • resilience and adaptability,
  • and stakeholder management.

These skills are essential to prove you can manage an enterprise’s change initiative or digital transformation now and in the future.

Therefore, it is important to see how these competencies evolve over time ,given the massive changes coming up in today’s and the future’s chaotic business environment.

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