I recently earned my certification as a Change Management Professional (CCMP). To express my accomplishment using such a straightforward sentence makes it sound so simple, doesn’t it? To be successful in earning my credential, I sat through the required training FIVE TIMES, I mastered the flash cards, I studied the processes within the overall change management concept, I read the change management standard and code of ethics several times, and I cried a couple of times, too. After months of preparation, in less than three hours, I click “Submit,” and, instantaneously, I am now certified. Now what???
I updated my resume and my LinkedIn profile with my new credential. That sounds like a great start. But how do I BECOME a Change Manager?
I’ve been in Learning and Development for YEARS, and, in my experience, L&D has been the only change management that employees encounter. L&D is just one cog in the wheels of change management, and it’s a crucial cog. How do we get the organization prepared to receive the learning is the tenet of change management?
To get started with change management, the change management plan should be integrated with the project management plan. Why? Project management implements change to processes, procedures, technology, etc.; change management prepares the people impacted by the change, or stakeholders. If the stakeholders aren’t open to or ready for the impending change, resistance can keep the change from being implemented at all, can reduce productivity to a level that is detrimental to the organization, can cause employee morale and organizational culture to deteriorate, and any number of negative outcomes to a change initiative.
So, back to my question: I have my certification; now what??
Although nothing is as constant as change, change management is not a practice that is consistently sought out for the progress of project implementation. I have an opportunity to apply change management principles to a project at work. I’m experiencing resistance to the idea of implementing change management practices even though there is no official project in place. There is no charter, no team, no plan, NOTHING, except an idea. It’s a great idea, but we’ve have past failures in implementing similar ideas, and I am certain those past failures have an impact on stakeholder resistance. The difference with our upcoming project endeavor is to prepare the stakeholders by seeking support and input up front, communicating appropriately, engaging change agents to minimize resistance, and, most importantly, visible and active executive sponsorship.
Just like a project includes some type of learning opportunity, change management prepares the stakeholders for that same learning opportunity. Learning is so much easier when you believe the information is beneficial for you, when you have current knowledge you can connect the new knowledge to, and when you will use the new knowledge immediately and consistently. In order to sustain the changes implemented by the project requirements, the stakeholders need be vested in the change, and that vesting is supported by change management. If the learning is well-received, immediately implemented, and consistently utilized, productivity drops associated with organizational change is minimized.
As a Learning and Development professional, I want to ease the learning transfer to support the learner and benefit the organization in a major way. I understand change management to be key in preparing change stakeholders to be receptive to new processes, procedures, technology, etc. I believe this preparation paves the way for successful project implementation, successful transfer of responsibility from project team to stakeholders, and successful sustainability of the vision. I look forward to applying my acquired head-knowledge so that it becomes a part of my processes going forward.