By Scott D. Anderson, CPT, and Kaie Pohi Latterner
As human performance practitioners, we are sometimes at a loss trying to describe how successful change management comes about, or even what it really is. Change management is not a deep mystery, but it is embraced (or not embraced!) by different clients in different ways. The simplest explanation is that we must engage the client early, systematically, and continuously to effect meaningful change in the organization. We examine as many of the aspects of the organization as possible to assess the impacts of changes being considered. We look at possible options to take advantage of efficiencies of cost, scale, and timeliness on implementation. The most important thing we strive to accomplish is to engender a sense of ownership within the organization’s management and employees for the desired outcomes. To accomplish this, we must move the conversation from “I will know what I want when I see it” to “I have heard what you described and here is how we have all agreed we can do this–together!”
There are specific process steps that ensure consistent change management goals between the client and the consultant (internal or contractual). Taking the time to build a foundation and accomplish each step pays off in reduced misunderstandings and communication issues during the project.
- Previous Body of Work: This might be a portfolio review or examples in either electronic or hard copy. Specific examples make it easier to show exactly what the finished change management product could look like, and the client can more easily visualize how those products might be of value to his or her organization.
- Information Gathering with Client: After the initial review, the consultant needs to have a focused discussion of the details of the project with the client. Having a needs assessment tool prepared in advance helps ensure that key information is not missed and that everyone has a mutual understanding of expected outcomes. These first two steps provide the client with “Here is what I have done before, and here is how it fits in with your plans and needs.”
- Translate Questions and Answers into Initial Proposal: The results of the client meeting are then turned into a formal change management proposal. This is the critical confirmation of understanding and sets expectations as to how long, how much and when deliverables are expected, and, most important, what the benefits will be to the client. This is the point when agreement is reached regarding what is to be accomplished, and work can begin with confidence.
By approaching the start of a project in a measured and thoughtful way, the consultant and the client can both set expectations for the conduct and outcomes of the work to be done and reduce the time and effort on project start-up. This predisposes positive outcomes and promotes positive client relations and repeat work. This workshop will be valuable whether you are a novice developer or seasoned consultant. We will present real-life change management scenarios, highlighting effective solutions and predictable pitfalls to avoid, with information and samples that you can apply directly to your own projects.
Scott D. Anderson, CPT, has over 20 years in the HPT field in corporate, government, and consulting environments, having been a designer, project manager, and technical manager. He has also been a CPT reviewer for eight years.
Kaie Pohi Latterner founded TEC Inc. in 1984. She has 30+ years of experience in change management, training, and business process redesign, primarily in the retail sector. Together with the TEC team, Kaie has supported dozens of major retailers, retail software providers, and integrators on over 75 retail systems implementations.
To learn more about this and other educational sessions at THE Performance Improvement Conference 2013 in Reno, NV, April 14-17, please go to www.ispi.org/content.aspx?id=1582. Register today at www.ispi.org/content.aspx?id=1600!