Rick's Reflections | 10 Tips to Make Change Management Training a Strategic Decision

Recently I did a Google search on change management training. Instantly, a number of providers loaded on my screen. With such a list, I know its sometimes hard figuring the best options for you and your organization. At LaMarsh Global, we’re here to help you make that decision. When you contact us, we are quick to assist you in evaluating our change management learning programs against the competition, because we want you to make the right choice. So, with multiple approaches to training, certification, methodologies and tools; how do you select the best change management learning solutions for your organization? Here’s some help getting started.

Every organization is different and there will definitely be nuances about the various providers that push you in one direction or another. Objectively reviewing and evaluating these options is an important and sometimes daunting process. In an ideal world, your decision would be based upon carefully crafted selection criteria, your organization’s strategies and goals, conversations with your leadership, and multiple conversations with potential training providers.

However, what struck me about my Google search exercise is how change management training appears to have become a commodity-like purchase. You can review the course descriptions and objectives, read testimonials, view YouTube videos, and make a decision without ever talking to prospective providers. In fact, some providers are expecting you to make this critical business decision quickly and efficiently with little, if any, buyer/seller interaction.

To better understand how these decisions are made and ultimately improve our LaMarsh Global customer service system, I interviewed a group of senior leaders (clients and non-clients) in organizations that recently purchased change management training. What I found was that these leaders split into two categories: those that delegated the responsibility and those that participated in the process. Those leaders who delegated the responsibility more or less agreed it was a commodity-like buy.

However, those leaders who took an active role in the decision making and ultimately the vendor selection had a very different perspective. These involved leaders saw their role as strategic to the organization. They were engaged in selecting a change management partner who would help the organization achieve strategic goals and objectives, not simply decide on a training vendor.

Senior leaders wanted to talk about the alignment of the change management approach/methodology before discussing training programs, curriculum and certification options. Organizational fit was important. They also wanted to understand the partner’s consulting experience and expertise, how the partner could support them in the implementation of change and their experience and expertise creating organizational competency. Many of the conversations ended in a discussion about how to leverage change management as a competitive advantage. These leaders saw change management training as an enabler to organizational capability, not a single purchasing decision.

Many of you are responsible in some way for making this important decision for your organization. I encourage you to have this discussion with your senior leadership. Find out what is important to them and the type of “purchase” they are asking you to manage. Based on the discussion you can align expectations appropriately and better understand your own accountability. You may find the following 10 tips helpful in guiding your discussion with leadership and ultimately the decision-making.

10 Tips to Make Change Management Training a Strategic Decision

  1. Define leadership commitment to change management
  2. Agree on a change management approach/methodology first
  3. Establish selection criteria and a review and evaluation process
  4. Assess the alignment of the training to the culture of the organization
  5. Select a change management partner, not a training vendor
  6. Engage senior leaders in the change management partner selection process.
  7. Align leadership expectations – training ≠ organizational or individual competency
  8. Modify training, curriculum and certification to align to the strategic goals of the organization
  9. Engage senior leaders in the training process
  10. Confirm the degree of coaching support available to reinforce training outcomes and continue competency development.

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