One of the most common questions we get as change management consultants is, "What is the best practice for deploying a change management methodology?" Clients are convinced that the Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM) is right for the organization. They've made the go-forward commitment. But how best to go forward?
There are multiple options, and no one "right way." Here are some potential approaches:
- Set up training and Accreditation sessions for HR or the OD team, and then have these newly certified individuals train others (a push it out approach)
- Communicate the new methodology and its value and wait for people to come to you looking for help (a pull approach)
- Select a few demonstration projects and use these as opportunities to deploy the change management methodology in an applied way, training key stakeholders as it makes sense. (push) This is with the anticipated result that other teams will want similar assistance when they see and hear the results (push, then wait for the pull)
While there may be merit in each of these approaches, and there are other options that are variations on the themes above, we do have some recommended guidelines for best practices when it comes to deploying a change management methodology.
Keep in mind that when you are bringing change management to your organization, it is, in fact, a change that needs to managed in a structured way. You need Sponsorship, readiness, reinforcement, communication just as you would for any cultural change. You need to be both strategic and tactical in your deployment.
So here are some best practice recommendations for deploying change management into your organization.
1. Don't set up change management training sessions across all locations and require all leaders to attend change management training-- unless you are attaching this training to some real strategic initiative or a small set of high priority initiatives.
You will get far greater traction and long-term adoption if the change management methodology is seen as a living, breathing protocol that adds value to the real work of the organization, and isn't just a hypothetical exercise built around case study scenarios.
While it is tempting to "spread the word" quickly, our advice is to avoid the temptation and take a "start with small steps" approach.
2. Do select a few high visibility, critical projects to use to integrate the change management methodology into business change projects. Here are the recommendations our change management consultants give clients regarding what types of projects to select:
Demonstration projects should be:
Be 12-18 months in duration
Be highly visible
Be tangible (e.g. technology or business process redesign as opposed to cultural)
Be already past Diagnosis and into the Design Phase (not remedial work or fixing past problems)
Have direct return to the bottom line
Have an experienced/credible project team lead
- Have potential for strong Sponsorship (motivated Sponsors) at the Managing Director level or below
In terms of change management training, we recommend that you use training in a "fit for purpose way." This means that you will train key stakeholders including the project team, Sponsors, and Change Agents who have direct implementation responsibility.
When this project is complete, you can leverage these trained resources on other projects, and build change management capability as you go.
We have found that this deployment approach creates enthusiasm and commitment to change management. Push first with a strategic approach, and then the pull will come.
When the pull comes, it will be based on the needs of the business, rather than pressure to conduct a lot of training sessions that become a "check the box" activity.