I started up the Change Readiness & Sustainment department at my former company in December 2014, and I thought that sharing my experiences and thoughts on the subject of change management might be valuable to others.
The first topic I’d like to write about is the critical connection between content, training and change management. At first, that might seem like obvious commentary. (Note: I constantly discover truisms as I continue to work in this field.) Still, it’s very important.
- Content: how a process, systems or organization change is defined and detailed has a lot to do with how it’s received by those impacted. Strategies can be clear – but in the end, the solution must work in both theory and application.
- Training: even with well-designed solutions, training must be designed and delivered in a way that is easily understood by the impacted employees. Different learning styles must be accommodated. In change management, we speak about the journey from awareness to understanding to adoption to ownership. That journey can only take place with effective training. If people don’t understand what to do, how the change impacts their day-to-day responsibilities, why the change is being made and when they’re expected to have mastered a new behavior, the change will not be implemented as planned.
- Change Management: we can design innovative solutions and deliver comprehensive training, but if people aren’t receptive and the changes don’t stick, then all the other work is for naught. Therefore, it’s important that Change Managers work lock-step alongside the project team that’s defining the change as well as the trainers who are designing and delivering those sessions. We have a vested interest in ensuring the pieces fit together in a way that’s cohesive and understandable to the impacted employees. (We’ll write more about how to increase receptivity and address resistance in future postings.)
So here’s a simple truth: without the disciplines of change management, the delivery of content and training can be hampered significantly. And without complete content and effective training, change will not happen as planned.
Finally, all three elements of this trifecta – content, training and change management – need to come together in the context of organizational culture. Norms around communication, collaboration, conflict resolution, operations and so forth must be considered carefully and integrated into change management plans well ahead of implementation.
An interesting aspect of change management at my company at the current time is that its culture is in a great deal of flux – with the arrival of an entirely new executive team and the departure of many of the founding members of the company within the past couple of years. In this environment, it’s important for me to keep my weathervane well-oiled to distinguish between what was and what is as I advise our project teams and business leaders on the changes we’re implementing.