ATD Blog

Change May Be the Most Exciting Part of Life

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Have you been a part of change recently? Well, that’s a silly question. Of course you have. Everything is changing. Even managing change has changed! Today’s organizations operate in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world. Our organizations face more complex, continuous change than ever before. Being able to quickly adjust to continuous change as well as being an expert at leading through complex change is more important than ever. Change is a way of life, and being proficient at navigating through change is imperative. Managing change is a required skill for leaders, managers, and all employees.

During a recent conversation with ATD staff members Amanda Smith and Julia Liapidova, I was reminded of how much fun I had writing one of the new titles in the ATD Workshop series: Change Management Training. Writing fun? Yes! Fun and exciting for three reasons.

Reason #1. I learned so much more about change. Writing a new book always gives me an excuse to delve deep into a topic and tap into new research. In this case it was exhilarating to ferret out all the nuances in books such as Bill Pasmore’s recent publication, Leading Continuous Change: Navigating Churn in the Real World. He and others make a case for why we need to think differently about change because even “change” is changing.

Up until recently organizations typically addressed changes one at a time, using fundamental tools and processes. Change teams had time to follow John Kotter’s eight-stage change process, gather data, and create a vision for each project. In some cases we continue to implement a change management approach that was designed for single-issue changes. But the VUCA environment does not allow us the time or the ease to rely on a set of basic tools any longer. Change Management Training provides a training design and delivery that takes this into consideration. It’s exciting to present content that is based on solid research.

Reason #2. I had fun creating the 23 engaging activities in Change Management Training. This in no way diminishes the value of these activities. You know how important it is to have lively, participative activities after lunch or to break the tension of a serious topic.

OK, so what was so fun about creating the activities? Let me tempt you with a few examples of how a dry topic can be fun for your learners.

  • Imagine creating a communication plan by asking teams to relaunch the modest, humble Brussels sprout. 
  • Picture your learners experiencing the frustrations of change as you modify instructions every two minutes in a short activity they thought was serious. 
  • Visualize creating a scenario in which your participants feel the pressure of juggling responsibilities on the job by juggling three tennis balls, a squeaky toy, a hard-boiled egg, and a glass of water.

Oh there are plenty of serious activities too—but those are easy to design. This is one of the most exciting workshops I’ve ever created.
Reason #3. The most exciting part is knowing that you, my colleagues, will be using these materials and implementing this training workshop for your learners. I know you and your organization will find it helpful. Your organization, like others, is challenged by the constant bombardment, faster pace, and convoluted complexity of change. They require change-ready employees and change-savvy managers at the ready to build a capacity for continuous change. It’s a different skill set. The choices and consequences are no longer as clear as they once were.

It’s exciting and an honor to provide you with a ready-to-use solution to help your organization successfully prepare for change.

Change How We Change


The bottom line is that we need to change how we change: how we make choices, how we make things happen, and even how we perceive change. Change is neither good nor bad. The most successful organizations are the ones that are proactive about change. They look for ways to turn obstacles into opportunities. Learning to become a change-savvy manager assures success for your organization, satisfaction for your direct reports, and fulfillment for you on the job.

The entire ATD Workshop series is exciting. All the titles will help you improve your learners’ skills. Each book in the series guarantees to save you time. Purchasing each book gives you the license to print and use the online activities, handouts, and PowerPoint slides without further permission. Several additional, optional formats are provided to meet your delivery needs. In Change Management Training, I’ve used a navigation theme in the words, images, and activities to add to the enjoyment of both delivering and participating in the workshop. I’ll be interested to hear about your responses to the theme.

I hope you find Change Management Training as exciting to use as I did designing it for you.

About the Author

Elaine Biech, president of ebb associates inc, a strategic implementation, leadership development, and experiential learning consulting firm, has been in the field for 30 years helping organizations work through large-scale change. She has presented at dozens of national and international conferences and has been featured in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Management Update, Investors Business Daily, and Fortune Magazine. She is the author and editor of over 50 books, including the ASTD Handbook for Workplace Learning Professionals, ASTD Leadership Handbook, 10 Steps to Successful Training, The Ultimate Trainer, Thriving Through Change, The Business of Consulting, 2nd ed., and Training for Dummies. A long time volunteer for ASTD, she has served on ASTD's National Board of Directors, was the recipient of the 1992 ASTD Torch Award, the 2004 ASTD Volunteer Staff Partnership Award, and the 2006 Gordon Bliss Memorial Award. Elaine was instrumental in compiling the CPLP study guides and has designed five ASTD Certificate Programs. In addition to her work with ATD, she has served on the Independent Consultants Association's (ICA) Advisory Committee and on the Instructional Systems Association (ISA) board of directors.

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