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In This Issue
Q&A: Leveraging Your Training Investment
Learning Is A Cornerstone Of Change
In Your Shoes

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The Change Management Pocket Guide


The Eight Constants of Change


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Change Agent Certification

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Change Mgt Best Practices
     Sep 18-21, 2012, 10-12 EST


Change Management Best Practices

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Fall 2011

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Kate Nelson and Stacy Aaron

In this issue, we're focusing on training delivery methods.  When organizations are undergoing significant change, there are almost always people within those organizations that need to learn new ways of working.  Many times, that means training.  Live virtual training is a viable method that offers a credible, cost-effective and results-oriented solution. Does this mean that all of your training needs can be met with live virtual training...absolutely not! But, there are certain situations where it is the right solution. In our first article, Learning is the Cornerstone of Change, we discuss why live virtual training is a compelling option. Our Q&A section addresses "how can I determine the best way to deliver that training?" and "when should crafted learning experiences be held in-person?"  


Change Guides is offering Live Virtual Workshops in 2012. Click here to learn more about Change Guides' 2012 Live Virtual Workshops!


Enjoy the newsletter and, as always, let us know what you think! E-mail Feedback.
All the best,
Kate and Stacy

Q&A Leveraging Your Training Investment

Training can be expensive, not only in dollars but in time away from the job. Too many companies view training as an event. Training should be viewed as part of an overall effort to improve job and personal performance. Here are a few questions we've received about leveraging training investments.


People in my organization need training, so they are able to adopt change. How can I determine the best way to deliver that training?

When managing organizational change, we often face situations where employees need to build new skills and competencies so they are ready, willing and able to operate in the future state. When determining how to approach training, a great place to start is with a "training needs assessment." This type of assessment includes a series of questions that help you determine the extent and type of training required as a result of the change. Through this assessment you will better understand the gap between current workplace skills and those needed to operate in the tobe environment. You can also uncover practical information about your user groups that will shape your decisions on how to design and deliver training. For example, are your users all collocated, do they all need new skills at the same point in the project, what have we learned from past training about their learning style preferences, what type of training is currently offered and how effective is it? Inputs from the training needs assessment will provide a solid foundation for effective training design and delivery.


When should crafted learning experiences, like training and workshops, be held in-person?

To determine the most effective training mode, it is important to take the content and learning objectives into consideration. Generally speaking, when the desired outcomes include building competency at applying professional judgment, management or leadership skills, an in-person instructor lead environment is preferred. A well crafted, interactive live-virtual forum may also be effective. Training that is primarily focused on technical skill building can often be effectively delivered in a variety of formats, including live-virtual, virtual, or CBT delivery methods. Depending on the complexity of the technical content you may also find that communications or job aids are sufficient. With any approach, the more customized the training is to a learners specific role, the more engaging and effective it is likely to be.


What are some tips to keep in mind when planning training?

Well crafted and delivered training is a great tool to support organizational change. Effective delivery can increase understanding, desire and ultimate adoption of the to-be state. While there are many factors to consider when planning training, here are a few key tips to keep in mind:

  • Confirm you are facing a training need and not something different. Many aspects of change are addressed effectively through other complimentary project elements like effective project management or communication. Ensure that there is a true need to build new skill or competency that is best addressed through training.
  • Create training within the context of the participant role whenever possible. The more you can customize training to an individual, or to a stakeholder group, the more effective it will likely be. This allows each individual to more fully understand and explore the unique impacts to them, and how their new skills and competencies serve the organizational change overall.
  • Communicate and schedule training in advance. Often employees are anxious about future changes and how they will impact their daily job experience. Communicating early about training plans and scheduling on calendars in advance helps employees gain a sense of understanding and leaves them feeling supported.
  • Determine how you will measure the outcome of training. Many companies are in the practice of asking participants whether they felt the training was effective, or capturing their reaction to training. To move to the next level, also make plans to measure whether new skills and competencies have been developed and put into use. Ideally, also measure whether those new skills and competencies are making a tangible impact to business results.


Learning Is A Cornerstone Of Change

Truly exceptional organizations facilitate continuous learning and transformation. In order to bring about effective organizational change, individuals within an organization need to be ready, willing, and able to work in new ways... over and over again! That means that the individuals who make up the organization continuously learn and transform.


Organizational learning is tricky business these days. People are busy. Budgets are tight. And adults are not really programmed to learn in the same ways that most of us did when we were in school.


Adults at work learn in lots of different ways. There is of course experiential learning that takes place every day through interactions, mentoring relationships, and on the job activity. But there are also crafted learning experiences like training and workshops that are critical components of a continuous learning strategy.


Continually educating the workforce so they can work smarter, leaner and faster can be very expensive if we think about learning from our traditional viewpoints. Everyone in a classroom. Days away from the job. The dreaded hotel conference or ball room. These models can still work, but there are other options. With geographically dispersed workforces, as well as ongoing demands of our jobs, looking at virtual possibilities for learning only makes sense.


One concern that comes to mind when looking to virtual forms of learning is the loss of the benefit of interactions with a trainer and classmates. With live virtual events ("live" meaning that the training takes place with a live teacher and classmates, "virtual" meaning that the group does not sit in the same physical room but shares an electronic or virtual room), the benefits of live training can be paired with the benefits of virtual training.


Live virtual forms of learning have some additional unique benefits to consider. In a live virtual learning environment, there can be opportunity to interact with the instructor and other participants with less risk, through "chat" features and polling questions. This increased interaction, along with frequent technology enable knowledge check, may lead to increased retention. Virtual training may be customized to the particular knowledge and skills needed by learning audience with more time and cost efficiency, further increasing the benefit to the organization.


When facilitating organizational change, there is almost always the need to help people learn new ways of working. Being creative about the way training is delivered (in one shot or broken up into small bits over time, in one location or from disparate locations) can reduce resistance to training and even improve the effectiveness of the learning.


If people in your organization need training to be effective at whatever change you are trying to implement, think about how to best deliver that training so that you can meet the demands of the learners as well as the change.


In Your Shoes 

Tom Owiti 

Change Manager


Have you approached projects differently
after the certification? If so, how?


Certainly! I now approach projects systematically to ensure successful change. I not only look at the process of making change but also think and look ahead at how the change will be sustained in the long run. The Stakeholder Analysis has been beneficial in identifying the people who are critical to the success of the project and in finding their interest levels. It enables me to understand how to communicate the project goals, objectives and expected results in a way that elicits their interest and support. The Leadership Alignment Assessment has been particularly beneficial in ensuring that I get support from the main player(s) who can make or break the project(s). I also start to develop the Roles and Responsibility Template early in the process and share with the stakeholders to ensure they understand who is accountable for which part of the project. When accountabilities are clear, projects progress more smoothly with greater understanding among the stakeholders because everyone knows the person to go to with specific questions.


What advice do you have for others trying to drive change?


To drive change effectively, one needs to understand and communicate that successful change only happens when behavior is changed. Also, change usually impacts a larger number of people and processes in an organization than is usually be anticipated. Whereas change in one area can be expected to impact specific areas directly, there are many indirect process relationships in organizations, which may also be impacted. Thus, a holistic approach to change and continuous assessment are necessary in every change project. The Communication Plan and Key Message Worksheet tools are especially useful in ensuring that consistent messages are communicated to teams and stakeholders and that project vision and plans are clearly understood by all. Do not neglect the Implementation Checklist, which is very important to ensure that change is implemented in a logical sequence. It is vitally important that the change agent obtain feedback from key stakeholders and provide feedback to them as the project progresses. The team must be well informed so that they can make informed decisions regarding any changes that may be necessary for the project to succeed.

Make sure you engage leaders and managers in various phases of the project by using the Leadership

Involvement Plan - it is a critical tool that is easy to overlook.


What one thing has helped you the most in driving change in your organization?


The Roles and Responsibility Template has helped tremendously with clarifying stakeholder accountabilities. Once the accountabilities are established, everyone is clear on who is answerable to which part of the project, and ensures effective project implementation. Needless to say, The Change Management Pocket Guide has been an invaluable resource as a quick reference for the tools that need to be used at different stages in driving change.  

Change Guides'
Live Virtual Training


The Eight Constants of Change

April 24th, 2012 - 9:00 - 12:00 EST

Learn more about this class


Change Management Best Practices

September 18-21st, 2012 - 10:00 - 12:00 EST

Learn more about this class