West Monroe Partners sent a team of our organizational change management (OCM) consultants to the 2016 Association of Change Management Global Conference. This conference gathered over 1,400 change professionals from around the globe to collaborate on current best practices, upcoming trends and continued networking. The sessions and speakers were diverse: as a team we divided our time across the conference, attending more than 37 sessions to obtain a deeper breadth of education as our OCM practice continues to grow with our clients’ unique needs. To recap, we each took a moment to reflect upon and identify our top three takeaways from our time at the conference, and want to share our highlights with you:
Shawna Saffle – Operations Excellence Senior Consultant
- Don’t request your team find a solution with the “answer” already in mind, let their work create the outcome vs. matching your expectation. This allows for a safe space to explore potential approaches, develop new beliefs and come to conclusions with a far less censored view.
- Instead of words, leverage pictures when creating project vision and communications. People connect more quickly and authentically to visuals allowing the opportunity for users to see themselves as part of the bigger picture. The language of imagination is a powerful tool as people consistently search for their relevance during times of transition.
- Coaching is the act of bringing someone along versus telling them where to go. A method not just reserved for poor performers, but an opportunity to continue to develop and succeed with additional support. The responsibility doesn’t truly lie with the coach: coachees have to do the real work, and simply showing up to listen will not lead to intended results.
Eric Freshour – Operations Excellence Manager
- Consider measuring how customer-centric your organization is by asking employees to score their perceptions of the customer’s experience. This allows clients to benchmark if their leadership, training and tools truly align to their goals by engaging the front line to set the direction.
- Find value in Stakeholder Journey Mapping, an approach that provides the opportunity to humanize your employees while measuring the change impact. Walking your resources through an exercise similar to process journey mapping allows greater insight to how your people will be directly impacted by change.
- Leverage an iterative impact assessment vs. overall readiness assessment approach during Agile projects, aligning each individual user story within a given sprint, then mapping impacts, and finally adding remediation steps tied directly to each impact. While this may seem time consuming, this is an effective exercise to break impacts down to a detailed level and include within training and other supporting project materials.
Nick Kennedy – Operations Excellence Manager
- Resistance we feel should be a reminder that people are experiencing an incredibly uncomfortable time leading them to show their negative sides. As change managers we have a responsibility not to take this reaction as a personal vendetta, but show compassion as users experience the pain of letting go. Our job is to lead by example and continue to be a positive role model because that attitude and approach is contagious.
- Group readiness assessments are incredibly effective not only for measuring the average but to identify the outlying individuals having the most difficulty adapting to changes. Dive deeper into these individual struggles to discover additional opportunities to not only meet goals but exceed them by finding other chances to increase value for the users’ experience.
- Validation of our understanding that change management goes beyond communication and training. With an increased understanding between basic and detailed change management, these sessions highlighted that WMP goes beyond surface level to dig into the impacts, KPI and leadership involvement.
Bill Kirst – Operations Excellence Senior Manager
- Resurgence of the importance of the role of change manager. We are “excavators”, removing barriers to either build or unearthing something new. The importance of this role is crucial to all businesses across all industries.
- Our role doesn’t stop at the end of the day, the email or communication plan, but continues as we focus on one outcome: to help others see their full potential and feel relevant amidst change. Often times this doesn’t happen between the hours of 8-5; we need to be creative, compassionate and compelling with our support.
- Create the space for people to talk about the stories we’re making up in the absence of certainty and the persistence of complexity.
Michael Hughes – Operations Excellence Senior Director, OCM Practice Lead
- Occasions to develop stronger ways of measuring the impact of change management. There are great discussions around this topic as it continues to be one of the most important evolutions as a discipline. The key is not how can we can only be involved in the training and adoption but the true hard ROI of specific outcomes.
- Continuation of the conference leaders to find a balance between the basics, the need to support and develop people new to the discipline, and find the time to push the gambit further for those more advanced in the discipline. ACMP should identify the right level of maturity for varied organizations and practitioners to provide the greatest value from a holistic view.
- Increase of acceptance of change management within organizations as the breadth of companies with committed change management roles continue to grow outside of HR/Training/PMO. We’ve come a long way in 25 years of my career and it’s reached a new level of acceptance and understanding. The opportunities are exciting.
With this exposure to new thoughts and reconfirmed understandings, WMP is working to enhance or offerings and overall value to our clients. Our ACMP team looks forward to developing internal training materials to pass this educational experience to our peers. We hope our OCM clients look forward to seeing some these exciting improvements, along with our validated methodologies.