Prosci Change Management Conference 2010 – Day 1
Todd Jick – Opening General Session
Todd Jick of Columbia Business School and opened with a keynote that was a call to action and a direct challenge to change managers. Jick talked about how the language of change management was shifting and how it has changed. The vocabulary of change has changed, comes to us in many different forms and new euphemisms like “restructure” or “reorganize” or “downsize.” The change manager laden audience parroted back a whole list of direct and indirect terms that they are confronted with everyday in the work of making change happen.
Jick recounted a story about an individual client once called in need of “a change management” and asked if he could “come and install one for us?” to which Jick responded “Hold on, let me see if we have one (change management) in stock!” This quip underlines a few general misconceptions about change management by the world enlarge especially by leaders, executives and organizational decision makers. People actually think that change can be “installed” in their organization like some kind of cybernetic implant.
Put in the proper context the notion of installing CM in an organization sounds more like upgrading software then fundamentally changing an entire organization or organizational culture. Of course, one task is vastly easier then the other.
The Titles Are No Longer The Same, What Did They Mean Anyway?
The titles of change managers have changed as change management has grown into a field.
- Cross-Site Change Agent?
- Chief Transformation Officer?
- Change Facilitator?
- Senior VP of Transformation?
- Chief MMA Punching Bag?
- Cross-Corporate Lightning Rod?
- Change Evangelist Zombie?
- Facilitator of Political Hurricanes?
OK I admit I added the last four! We have more complex titles for sure, but what do they really mean? People call us all of these different things but when the average person hears these titles what does it mean? Are they thinking the same thing they thought when they heard newly defined titles twenty years ago? I liked that Jick also poked some well placed fun at the our educational institutions and their role in catalyzing the evolution of change management or not.
Jick walked through the progression of CM has evolved from 3 box models to 10 box models, a variety of curves and other charts have popped providing different vistas, approaches and ideas about systems for actualizing change. After the boxes Jick shared -
The Ten Commandments of Change Management
- Analyze the organization and its need for change.
- Create a shared vision and common direction.
- Separate from the past.
- Create a strong sense of urgency.
- Support a strong leader role.
- Line up political sponsorship.
- Craft an implementation plan.
- Develop enabling structures.
- Communicate, involve people, and be honest.
- Reinforce and institutionalize change.
Change Management Is A Field! Or Is It?
Jick made the point rather convincingly that change management is now it’s own field. There is enough solid supporting research, textbooks, handbooks, tools, diagnostics, organizations, companies, publications, models, methodologies and 256 million citations on Google along with rising demand for effectively navigating major change initiatives to conclusively say that CM is indeed now a field! W00t! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
Not so fast! In order to say that something (CM) is indeed a success first the numbers have to add up…but they do not. Mergers and acquisitions change management success rates 25%. Private Equity successful change rate 25%. Overall only 25-40% successful change rates. This means that overall change failure rates are running at 60-75% across the board. Jick chimed in a sobering and poignant observation:
We could debate all day long about the number of factors that have changed in CM or effecting CM and velocity of change, the fact that field is still young/evolving etc. But ultimately we as change practitioners must find new ways of increasing success of change success rates across the board. It is not going to be an easy task, given the economic climate and number of changes in flux. As change managers we must be responsible and not call 25% success when it is a FAIL.
Eye Opening Change Management Stats
- Our ability to adapt to change will be a key source of competitive advantage in the coming year… 76% of CEOs agreed (2009 PWC Study)
- We have taken on 5 or more change initiatives over the previous 5 years…72% of CEOs agreed (2009 PWC Study)
- Yet, 75% of change programs fail…(2009 PWC Study)
Jick’s presentation was spot on, no punches pulled look at where we have been, what is happening now and where are we a headed state of change management. He had more content then I will cover here, but I will try and lace the major points through this three post series and tie it all together. Here is the best image from his presentation -
I think we do need some change in change management. Let’s give it with a smile.
Cramer/Ibana – Session One
Maria Cramer and Carole Ibarra delivered a session which I found to be less compelling, but then again anything that has to tell you that it is “World Class” probably is not. They lost me from the moment they said “Socialize (phase) happens at the beginning of the project” and at another point when they said “weather or not it is true or not it does not matter” but then again I am into social media change management, transparency and social are key. There were a few gems, nothing earth shattering -
- If you get push back from leadership ask them what the business case was for change and state that the ROI numbers were probably based on 100% adoption, then show them what it looks like if you only get 50%.
- Take the time and empower, share what is changing.
- Sit in on project meetings with leadership.
- Use their language, culture and community analogies in daily business.
- Have gumption and fortitude even if it is at the sacrifice of your relationship.
- People will duck big change obstacles, don’t let them.
Burnett/Montag-Schmaltz – Session Two
Presented by Julie Burnett CEO Liberty Northwest / Beth Montag-Schmaltz People Firm. This was undoubtedly one of the top three sessions of the conference. LNW was faced with a massive, rapid and very disruptive change due to a large merger that increased the size of the org by 60%, and they also had to change their distribution model.
Hardcore Change, Means Hardcore Emotions
Ripping out the heart of a company is not an easy change for anyone to face. Because the nature of the change and legal issues the change had to happen fast and few people at the company were going to be able to know until just before it happened. Also, there was a short time from a of only a few weeks to prepare for the change. Many of the people who would be effected were loyal lifers who had been with the org for many years.
Emotion Is The Elephant In The Changing Room
I think one of the biggest elephants in the room in change management is dealing with the emotional side of people change. At work and in business culture in America we are taught to hide and mask our feelings, to lie to one another about our feelings about the changes happening in the workplace in the name of professionalism and decorum. I think that accepting this and making these practices status quote only leads to a climate of deceptions in work, which creates an environment for more damaging and painful change failures occur.
How To Lead The Emotional Side of Change
Here were the key takeaways I took away from session two -
- Be heartfelt and sincere
- Make your actions meet your words
- Do not lie, ever
- Honor your employees with your actions everyday
- Create a space for open dialogue and listen well
- Acknowledge their fears, seek to understand others emotions
- Think about the people, not the business
- Find ways to honer people staying and leaving
As a leader and a person Burnett was willing to go and sit with her people directly face the consequences of the change that had to happen in her organization, whatever that meant. Facing and dealing with the tears, disbelief, rage, denial, skepticism, the whole emotional spectrum that happens when disruptive change occurs can be daunting to navigate. Actively creating a space for talk outs or open sessions for emotion will help direct that emotion in a more positive way.
Facing the emotional side of change as a leader is one of the toughest yet most rewarding things you will ever do. It takes courage, time, compassion and it is not clean. Sitting in your CEO corner office and avoiding the consequences of the emotional side of change, while the workers who put you there get wrecked is not leadership or leading change. A lack of emotional intelligence and business norms which do not support creating an open space for discussing change, will effect how the change happens and overall success. The bigger question is if change managers and leaders don’t create the space, what happens and where does all of that emotion go?
Elephant #2 The Consultant Fishing Problem
Another elephant in the changing room? This is turning into a zoo! The “consulting fishing” problem creates perception issues about consultants and the value they can add to change projects. Awesome that Burnett called this out, because it is so true. Too many consultants are focused of trapping or locking clients into their service and making them dependent in order for change to happen. That is not a strategy, it is a tactic that is one of desperation, low professional confidence and a lack of skill. I was really really impressed by this presentation.
Anthony Greenfield – Session Three
ACMP Regional Networking Lunch
Hundreds of change management professionals having lunch, networking and discussing the possible future direction of the Association of Change Management Professionals. In addition to networking over lunch, everyone had the opportunity to provide feedback on a short the questionnaire -
AMCP Questions by Region
- What types of activities would you like to see a local ACMP chapter organize?
- How often would your regional ACMP chapter meet?
- What would be the best way to communicate with members in your region?
- Where would local ACMP activities best be held in your area (venues, central locations, virtual)?
- What local institutions or organizations might have speakers or resources you could leverage?
- What are the logical geographic divisions for sub-regional local chapters in your region?
- Other regionally-relevant topics?
What is the ACMP?
The Association of Change Management Professionals is a professional association that brings together change professionals from all over the world.
Jeanenne LaMarsh – General Session
Some CM people refer to LaMarsh as the “Grandmother of Change Management” because she has been working in CM for over 20 years and has participated in so many change campaigns seeing the full lifecycle of CM play out again and again. Her presence was strong during the presentation, she conveyed an air of authority, deep knowledge and experience. When you are in a room with her my advise is shut up an listen to every word she has to say and you will indeed learn something valuable.
Her GS was focused on bringing a human perspective to the role of the change sponsor, which is often overlooked. Change managers spend a lot of time chasing, targeting and trying to persuade sponsors, they don’t spend a terrible about of time trying to really understand them as a person or the situations those people are put in. Then CMs wonder why sponsorship dries up and the change fails.
This quote eludes to the fact that certain people will never change and if you think that you job role as a CM is to change every person in the organization you have not read your job description closely enough. The job is to change the organization and sometimes all you need is for that objective to be met is for the persona of the leader to change. Of course, it would be great if we could change everyone for the better but most of the time it is neither realistic nor practical.
When change managers are unwilling to hold their own with management or push back when needed, change does not happen very well, components of the campaign can be compromised sabotaging the change that the executives need to make happen.
Victoria Grady – Session Four
Grady teaches at George Washington University and she delivered a quirky but engaging session and presented real world applications of a change management tool called The LOE Index that identifies behaviors, perceptions, and attitudes that happen in organizations as a response to change. The Loss of Effectiveness (LOE) Index tool is a 54 question index that can be used to baseline an org, before applying a model like Kotter or Prosci.
Before beginning her presentation Grady had to kick off her shoes to get comfortable, quite literally. Her presentation style was a little different but I liked that it was original, real and pulled quite the southern draw. The presentation included a animated set of slides synced up to John Meyer‘s song Waiting for the World To Change, made for an interesting juxtaposition with the content she was sharing.
Grady was asked by an audience member about the anonymity of the LOE Index survey in small organizations, she said that all results are anon. Also, it was interesting she sets the expectation on anonymity of those surveyed up front with her clients…even so leaders and executives would ask her for their identities anyway! Grady said that she had turned down potential clients and lost engagements before because she would never compromise anonymity saying she “No I am not…I don’t need those kind of clients, it’s just not a right fit.” It is kind of crazy that others are trying to figure our who said what, rather then honestly trying to figure out how to make change happen.
Afternoon Panel Session
Featured Panelist Speakers: Norrene Duffy of Red Bridge Consulting, Jan Nelson of Hannaford Brothers/DelHaize America Shared Services, Tricia Emerson of Emerson Human Capital Consulting, and Maday Anderson of Maday Consulting
I was going to attend the Panel on Change in Government Organizations but when I walked in the room the first thing I heard was a begrudged “I know changing government can be like having a root canal done but….” and I decided to attend the org change impact panel instead. It was a good move -
A conversation about the velocity of change in Todd Jick’s general session had arisen and seemed to bridge right into this panel. A few topics effecting the V variable of change management were information technology changes like Google (Search)/Social Media and the generational gap between Gen Next/Gen X/Millennials. Change Managers are sensing that these impending unavoidable changes have been heading down the pipeline for some time now and are going to continue to accelerate change in a major way. There was discussion that the fundamental assumptions that many past CM models were built upon is changing, the same models may not apply anymore.
Some the key questions discussed:
What is our intentional culture? A complex adaptive system with a strong research base used to move the needle on organizational performance.
What roles do (changes in media/social media) play in the context of communication? Where in the past high risk comms were always dealt with face to face, different generations have different levels of comfort and may be fine with a more informal style. In order to do so you must understand who is in your workforce, what are their characteristics, attributes and priorities.
This panel was one of the good ones and I enjoyed the different perspectives and banter from the different panelists.
Christopher Peila – Session Five
Presented by Christopher Peila of Capgemini. Here were the key takeaways -
- Build a change elastic organization
- Develop employment affinity groups
- Move from fear to embrace
- Use informal networks and feedback loops
- Crawl, walk, run
- Build HPT – High Performance Teams
- Inspired leadership sets the tone
- Tackle the different levels of the organization ans scale efforts to the level of importance in the enterprise
Twitter Hashtag For The Prosci CM Conference 2010
For those Change Management Twitter people out there, since there is no official conference twitter hashtag I went ahead and made one, it is pretty intuitive and straight forward. Since this is the 2nd Annual Prosci Change Management conference:
- Prosci Change Management Conference 2 = #PCMC2 (Conference Hashtag)
When the change management conference is taken over by the Association of Change Management Professionals then we can follow the format using the acronym and conference number:
- Association of Change Management Professionals 3 = #ACMP3 OR #ACMPC3
Below is a list of some twitter hastags that may already be in use related to change and CM.
Twitter Hashtags Related Change Management
Note there was more content and conversation at the conference then can be conveyed in a few posts. Consider this a holistic slice of the event and what it all means.