Change management training is an important component to your change readiness strategy. There are many change management methodologies out there, and many change management training options available.
If you are trying to increase your organization's change capability, you need to have a strategy around your change management training. Rather than taking a "one size fits all" approach, our change management consultants recommend that you look at the change management training as part of a larger strategy for building readiness for change.
So what does this really mean?
You first need to understand the various audiences that will be impacted by your change. These can include organizational positions such as:
- Senior Directors and Executives
- Managers of Managers
- Managers of Supervisors
- Managers with No Direct Reports
- Front Line Employees
Depending on the change, each of these audiences will have different areas of learning required. Typical areas of need include:
- an understanding of the implementation strategy and structure
- an overview of the change management methodology steps and principles
- the role of Sponsor in terms of expected behaviors
- implementation tactics, such as how to manage resistance to change
As the Change Agent, you have to match up these learning requirements to the audience. So for our clients, as part of our change management consulting we lay out a plan that will simultaneously build readiness for the current specific change while also building more long-term change capability.
For example, our training plan might include the following AIM Action Learning Programs, all tailored to the specific change:
- For Execs who need to be active Sponsors of the change, we would conduct an Executive Briefing. This is a 4 hour session which includes collecting data on the organization's past history of implementation, since we know that leaders will continue to act as they have in the past barring some intervention. The major focus of this session is on actions required from these leaders as Sponsors-- specifically what we need them to do to express, model, and reinforce their individual and collective commitment to the change.
- For Senior Directors, we would conduct a one day SponsorShop. This session also focuses on the behaviors required from the "Reinforcing Sponsors" of the initiative. We know that we will have the highest level of resistance to change from mid-Managers and above, so this training is critical. The SponsorShop is most impactful when we combine the training with a 360 type of individual assessment of the Sponsor using our Sponsor Assessment tool. This provides the individual with performance data that then informs their Sponsor development plan-again, not generically speaking but in the context of the specific change.
- For Managers of Managers, Managers of Supervisors and Managers with No Direct Reports we would conduct an Introduction to AIM session so that they are familiar with with vocabulary and principles of the methodology, with an emphasis on the definition of the change, Sponsorship, Readiness, Communication, and Reinforcement.
As part of the broader change readiness strategy, we also need to build readiness and capability in the project team and in the Change Agent network that we develop to implement the change at the local level.
While situations differ, we often will conduct a Project Planning Workshop for the project team. This is a hands-on Workshop to build change management methodology awareness in the team that is then applied real-time to the project. As part of the session, the team will develop a Business Case for Action, and high-level Sponsorship, Readiness, Communication, Sponsorship, and Reinforcement Strategies. This combination of learning and application for the entire project team supports the integration of the human and technical project management plans.
As the project moves toward implementation, we will also train the local Change Agents in the methodology principles, tactics, strategies and tools so that there is a consistent, best practice approach to implementation at the local level. Consistency increases efficiency, and makes best use of scarce resources. We know that no organization will ever have the full complement of resources it really needs for implementing changes.
One "surgeon general's warning"-- change management training is really important, but it is not a substitute for a true implementation plan!