I recently attended the 2014 Association of Change Management Professionals Conference. The speakers were excellent and I personally learned a lot. What made the greatest impression on me was being in a conference room with 800 or more change practitioners all with the same level of passion and all facing the same issues and challenges when leading change. People were in attendance from every American state, Wales, Dubai, India, Nigeria and a significant number of Canadians.
This year the ACMP included updates where they are on the path to formalizing a code of conduct and ethics, the standards of practice that will form the basis of the Change Management Professional Certification process and examination. If you want to hear more, please be sure to attend our May 28 Think Tank event! In the meantime, I strongly suggest to each of you to check out the Change Management Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct that have been finalized and are available on the ACMP web site. There is a link you can use to comment on the ethics document and the full document is available for download and printing.
ACMP 2014 Global Conference - Highlights from Heather Lehmann
Each year, I look forward to the ACMP annual conference. Change Management 2014 was the best I've attended thus far.
Why? Not only was there an excellent lineup of speakers and panelists, there was also a focus on the real challenges of large-scale enterprise change, the ups and downs of setting up a centralized change management office, and the epidemic of change overload in organizations. Prominent change management professionals stressed the importance of understanding and working within the areas of leadership development, culture, human dynamics, and business strategy in order to be successful.
The criticality of relationships in successful change - those with sponsors, stakeholders, and self - was a theme I noticed throughout the 3 days. Consider asking yourself the following questions to improve your relationships with each:
Sponsors (individuals with the authority and/or influence to endorse the change):
When giving feedback, do I provide sponsors with insights and recommendations that they can act on, not just data? Do I invite them to do the same with me?
Do I position 'asks' in a way that is irresistible for the sponsor? Ex: "Would you like to get employees excited about this change by sharing your vision at the town hall?" rather than "Would you speak at the town hall?"
Do I talk about activities as a means to achieve business outcomes as opposed to talking about change management methodology and tools?
Stakeholders (individuals who have to do something differently as a result of the change):
Have we spent as much time listening to stakeholders as we have talking at them?
Do we know our stakeholders' needs, wishes, and fears? How can we address (or at least consider) these while we're going through this initiative?
Big change starts with little connections amongst people. How am I consciously establishing those connections with key people? On a broader scale, how am I facilitating the development of those types of connections across the organization?
Self (me as the change leadership professional):
What is my unique contribution to this work? What do I bring that goes beyond methodologies or tools, and how can I employ the 'art' of what I do?
Being 'fully present' and 'in the moment' is critical for listening, for developing insights, and providing feedback. What can I do to increase the regularity of those moments?
What gets me up in the morning? Have I tapped into my own motivations and desires in order to bring my best to my work?
Daniel leads the Change Management function for BC Hydro. He reports into the Director of Organizational Effectiveness as part of the Corporate Human Resources group. His team is involved in a variety of large scale projects – ranging from process improvements, technology implementations and safety initiatives to organization-wide, transformation programs.
Prior to joining BC Hydro in 2011, Daniel held senior manager roles in Human Capital and Change Management at PwC. Previous to PwC, he worked with Accenture and Bank of Montreal.
Daniel grew up in Alberta and attended the University of Calgary where he graduated with a B.A. in Psychology. Soon after graduation, he moved to British Columbia and later completed an MBA at Royal Roads. Daniel holds CHRP and PROSCI certifications and is an active member with ACMP and HRMA.
Why are you practicing in CM? What got you involved in this field?
I’ve been working with people going through change my entire career. Early on, I thought that the key to success was around communication or training but then I discovered change management. I soon realized that the key to a successful change was leveraging all aspects of the change (leadership, project management, engagement, etc. in addition to communication and training) so that it makes sense to the end user / person impacted by the change.
What do you love most about the work you do?
I love my job – it is well-suited to my personality. For those that like personality profiles, I’m a Myers-Briggs E-N-T-J or an Insights Yellow-Red. There is a huge amount of variety in my work and I meet new people every day. This can be stressful at times but I much prefer the variety opposed to the routine and expected. I also enjoy the challenge of change management – it’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle. In order to make the “puzzle” work – you need to constantly being trying different approaches and adjusting the plans.
What does success look like for you?
For me, success revolves around performance. There are a couple of areas where I focus:
The people affected by the change know what they need to do to get their work done.
They understand where their work is coming from and who will be using the outputs of what they are doing.
They understand how their role contributes to the success of the organization.
They have a very clear understanding of what success looks like and how they must perform/what is expected of them.
The key to making this happen is working with leaders (supervisors, managers, sponsors) to ensure they know their role in executing the change.
What is a key learning you can share with our group? What is a key success factor in CM?
One word – Integration! I’ll be honest; I’ve been on a lot of really challenging projects and learned this lesson the hard way. There are 3 areas where change management must integrate in order to be successful on a project.
All of the change management people must speak the same language and practice the same approach. If everyone uses different vocabulary, deliverables or models – not only will the project team be confused but so will the impacted stakeholders. I like everyone practicing change management at BC Hydro to be PROSCI certified (employees and contractors). While this is not the only solution, it definitely creates a common starting point to build from.
Project management and change management must be integrated. Project plans are very organic and must be constantly adjusted to meet the needs of the project. If change management isn’t completely integrated into this plan – the two functions can very quickly not align. A common example is the project going live before the training is complete. This means one plan, one update report, one key decision structure, one risk register, etc. To make this work, the project manager and change manager need to be connected at the hip and have a very strong relationship. It also helps the sponsors get a more holistic understanding of where the project is going.
The project needs to integrate into the organization. For example, the training approach needs to align with the model used by Enterprise Learning and the communication approach needs to leverage Corporate Communications’ templates and channels. The project also needs to be aware of other projects in the organization impacting the same stakeholders. By working with these various groups, you will make it easier for the end-user to understand and engage in the change as well as being able to sustain the change.
I often use an airport analogy when describing why integration is so important. Imagine an airport where all of the pilots only speak their native language, where planes land whenever it’s convenient for them and the flight crew unloads the plane however they choose. This would be pure chaos.
This is one of my favorite cartoons that I often use to explain change management: