Pictured above: Evelyn Rutherford, President of ACMP Victoria Chapter (left) with Donna Brighton, President ACMP Global (right).

Last month, Shelly Koorbatoff, Charleen Tupper, Sandra Price and myself, Evelyn Rutherford, attended the annual ACMP Global Change Management Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

For those who have never heard of them, the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) is the leading internationally recognized resource in the discipline of change management. ACMP is to change managers what PMI is to project managers. The ACMP have developed their own code of conduct and this year released their standards for change management. They are now working on a Certification process which will provide a Certified Change Management Professional designation. This designation will be given to those individuals who have a certain level of experience as a change practitioner, have attended a “standards aligned” change management course and have written an examination. A Qualified Education Registry is being made available with a list of suitable education providers. Although only five years old, the ACMP has already established chapters in over 61 Countries, with Sierra Systems, actively involved in running the Victoria, Vancouver and Winnipeg Chapters.

Change Leadership vs. Change Management
Change leadership vs. change management and the need to build enterprise change competencies was a predominant theme during the conference. This fitted aptly with the presentation that Shelley Koorbatoff and Charleen Tupper gave on the “Coach Approach Framework” they are using to build change competence at a large government agency in the State of Oregon. The Agency is in the process of implementing a multi-year system which is transforming the way they work.

Shelly Koorbatoff and Charleen Tupper
Shelley and Charleen (pictured left) have been actively working with executives and leaders within the agency to help them be effective leaders of change, through ongoing coaching, training on change management and support. At the same time working with middle management, supervisors and leads within units, to perform readiness assessments, determine impacts, provide communications, and measure and monitor adoption and readiness for change. The work we are doing at the agency is part of a longer term journey to build change competence, and is a cultural shift that will take many years to integrate internally.

Many organizations are investing in change management by creating a Strategic Change Office to house their change management center of excellence – specialized resources, training, standards, methods and tools. They are integrating change management with their PMOs and other processes. Others are working hard to train and educate their leaders in change management as a required and necessary competence. Pacific Gas and Electricity spoke about a multi-year path they followed to build an enterprise change framework with lots of upfront leadership change training, identification of business benefits and continuous tracking and monitoring of behaviors. Their key to success was developing trust at all levels.

Engaging stakeholders during the change
Another theme repeated several times during the conference was the need to creatively engage and involve stakeholders throughout a change. This can often be quite challenging, especially as many of us have to work remotely. Several workshops were also held to promote the use of visual drawing for meeting facilitation, having staff personalize the change, and using stories and analogies when needing to sell change management. Daniel Pink, the opening keynote speaker, emphasized the need as a Change leader to dial back the power when talking to staff about change, as humble leaders outperform, less humble leaders. Repeatedly communicating the Why of the change as opposed to always the How, and listening and seeing things from a different perspective is also important.

Influence in change
Lastly, there was lots of discussion around influence and how it is used during change. Justin Hale provided some interesting perspectives using his six sources of influence model which helps to determine how best to motivate and enable change. He pointed out how direct persuasion works best as you want staff to experience the change themselves for it to make an impression – to create the Aha! moment. He also talked about identifying the top few behaviors (Vital behaviors) that would lead to the greatest amount of change and focusing on them. And finally clarifying measurable results.

All in all a great conference, lots of opportunity to network and plenty of sessions to choose from. Registration for next year’s conference is already open – in Dallas, Texas.

Watch ACMP Conference 2015 Highlights and Insights