Saturday, 28 February 2009

Training as a Change Lever Part 3......moving to adoption

In my previous post on using training as a change lever we looked at how you start to move people up the commitment curve. This is all about raising people's awareness about a change and then starting to develop an understanding. As people start to become more aware then this is a critical time - it is an opportunity for people to become worried "now I understand how this is going to impact me......and I don't like it"

So how can learning and development interventions help people understand why the change is good for them (even if it may be painful) and then how can it move people into adopting the change themselves.......?
Whereas awareness and understanding are about providing a consistent and general view, the next step is about building on this but being more specific about your role.

Whilst it is of course important that people at all levels in the organisation are aware of and understand the change, it is the more senior managers that will initially have significant influence. Once people start thinking about the impact on them and their role they will need to be reassured and given the opportunity to discuss.

If your senior managers aren't equipped with adequate coaching and change management skills then this can really cause more problems and even create further resistence to the change.

What kind of change skills are useful to focus on developing - here are a couple?
      • Give them an understanding of why people resist change. A bit of theory can be useful and help managers spot certain types of behaviour. Point them towards books and papers by John Kotter and you won't go far wrong. My favourite is Leading dust.

      • Teach people how to identify and manage stakeholders. Not only is this a great skill to have it is vital to manage change.

      • Help them understand how to move people to take action. Whilst worthy of it's own post (book...library) it is at the heart of any change. If your manager can do this......keep hold of him!
      As well as equiping your managers for the change it is important to provide more role specific training for people. This will really help to equip them with the skills for their specific role. A great technique to help people consider new ways of working and thinking is the use of dilemmas.

      A dilemma is a scenario that people are given to consider, discuss and debate. Typically it will be related to the change and will stimulate lots of discussion. For example if you are trying to introduce a culture of ethical behaviour in an organisation you might create real life scenarios that highlight a number of ethical dilemmas eg. dealing with a conflict of interest, dealing with dishonesty etc. If used well these can be a very powerful development tool and can really help people deal with change. Action Learning Groups, role plays and case studies are all training methods that fit very well with the use of dilemmas. Consider delivering some elearning first and then following up with classroom based discussion and exploration in more detail.

      A final item to consider and one that will help you sustain the change, moving you right up the commitment curve. Look at the existing competencies that exist in the organisation. Do they reflect the required behaviour needed to drive through and sustain the's unlikely of course. Undertaking an exercise that really examines what is needed and how these need to be layered into the competency model is critical to embed change. Again this is worthy of it's own maybe that's one for the future.

      Making Change Stick in an organisation is tough and it is something that I covered on this blog in other posts. So if you want to know more then check out these:

      In the modern corporate world and particularly in the current climate it is important for training professional to really be able to show their worth. Having a set of skills and tecnhiques that can help your organisation deal with change will guarantee you a seat at the top table...good luck!

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