How are change readiness and change fitness similar, and how are they different?

They are similar in that they both relate to the change process. One is about being fit for the change process and the other is about being ready for it.

The Marathon

For example, think of a significant change as though it were a marathon that must be run – it is long, demanding, and difficult. If you’re not fit enough to run the distance, you’re not ready for it. You might be ready to start the race, but you’re not ready to finish it, let alone win it.

Change fitness and change readiness are both about being able to succeed at the change process. But organisational change is not just about one person being fit and ready to succeed. It is about a team of people being fit and ready to succeed. Therefore, the complexity multiplies.

The Complexity Multiplies

Organisational change readiness includes the combined change fitness of the people who are most affected by the change. This is the group of people who will be running the marathon, and each one has a different capacity to finish the race. But if you have people who are not ready to finish the race, you can take some positive steps to help them build their change fitness. We have coaching programs and coach training programs to help them do that.

And there is more to consider than just their readiness to finish the race. You also must consider their readiness to start. Are they enlisted? Engaged? Enthusiastic? If not, you have a problem. You have a race that nobody wants to be part of. So, what’s wrong here? You have failed to communicate a strong enough message in the 5 areas that are most important in change readiness. And you need to do something about that.

Third, how you plan and stage this marathon will make a difference in how successful people are at it. If you put road blocks in the way or forget to do some important things, you are making it much more difficult for people to succeed. Your change management processes and how you approach change must work in your favour. If you have gaps here, it’s time to fix them.

Change Readiness Assessment

A change readiness assessment examines these 3 key areas – the change fitness of your team, their level of enlistment and engagement, and your change management team’s processes and approach to the change. Get those 3 things right, and you’re on the road to success.

Dr Steve Barlow

Steve Barlow
Author: Steve Barlow

Steve heads up The Change Gym. He is a change readiness specialist. You can contact him at