Two days. Five events.
It was grueling. It was exhausting. But it was so exhilarating and refreshing!
On February 18 and 19, 2016, I had the honor of presenting at the Professional Development Days at the beautiful Normandale Community College campus in Bloomington, MN. And boy did the MNCMN show up! We reached capacity for all five events. They were one of the most engaged, thoughtful, committed and fun groups I’ve presented to! Here are a few event highlights, from my perspective.
The Professional Development Days kicked off with an executive breakfast on organizational agility as a strategic imperative. Two takeaways to share:
First, when we arrived, the room was set up classroom-style although we were planning on doing tables (and I had built table discussions into my presentation). Twenty minutes before go time, a couple of MNCMN volunteers came up and asked, “Would you prefer tables to the rows?” I responded, “Yes, but if it is too much trouble, then…” And they politely interrupted, “Then we’ll set it up as tables.” In a matter of minutes, it was all hands on deck, and they quickly transformed the room (set up for 75 attendees no less) into pods to support the learning environment.
To me, this was an indication of the dedication and type of people you find at a change management network event (particularly this one)—the kind who jump right in with a commitment to delivering the best. I didn’t grab all their names, but I do want to extend thank you to them for their dedication and elbow grease!
Second, on the event itself. The important takeaway for me from the executive breakfast was the question and discussion around, “If we know agility is so important, then why aren’t we doing anything about it?” One of the major issues that surfaced was along the lines of: “we don’t have a solid understanding of what it means and what we would focus on to build agility.” The pods really leaned in to table discussions about Prosci’s six definition components of agility and the Prosci 10 Agility Attributes Assessment. I think together we added some clarity and shared understanding to “agility” that will pay dividends for the organizations working to build this crucial capability.
The roundtable forum in the afternoon was framed around the journey toward organizational change management capability. I used imagery of climbing a mountain to tee up the discussion:
I was really impressed with the strategic lens this group was able to take. It is so easy to end up heads down when we start the journey, and sometimes we lose sight of how important it is to be strategic, structured and intentional when deploying change management broadly across an enterprise. This group’s dedication to exploring the current state and defining the future state struck me. The better we understand where we are today and where we are trying to get to, the better our strategy for closing the gap. This group really engaged with real-time survey tools to set the stage for the ascent.
The evening of day one concluded with the MNCMN Summit, a sort of keynote which again focused on agility and enterprise change management capability. From a facilitator perspective, this was a tricky group because it was comprised of four distinct audiences, including those who:
But, I decided to jump in head first and really focus on the actions that produce the expected results, namely increased agility through an Enterprise Change Management (ECM) capability.
My key takeaway from this session was the idea that agility is a state of being. It is part of who we are as individuals and as organizations. Agility cannot be rented or stood up for three months. It becomes the fabric of who we are. This group really dove into exploring the Prosci Agility Attributes and ECM as a crucial enabler of agility. We concluded the event by examining ten ECM case studies to identify key themes and lessons for others working to differentiate themselves with a change capability. Then, we really concluded the event by enjoying a cocktail and storytelling at a local pub.
Day two of the event shifted from an organizational perspective (agility and ECM) to an initiative perspective (with the business case and scorecard). We delivered these two advanced workshops in 2015 in London, Sydney and Toronto – but February 19 was the first time we brought them to the U.S. Well, it was standing room only, and I think people were sneaking in even as we got started.
The morning workshop focused on how to write a business case for change management. The audience showed a great solution-orientation by really examining how a formal, structured business case could help them address common objections to change management that they often encountered. Specifically, we looked at how the business case lets us solve these four objections:
The group made great progress in how they would position and context change management when introducing it to clients, project team and senior leaders. They jumped on what we call Prosci’s “killer question” in change management return on investment (CMROI) work: “How much of this project’s results and outcomes depend on people changing how they do their jobs?” We also took a detour to explore the CMROI Calculator specifically, and a number of attendees were already working to calculate the adoption contribution for the projects and initiatives they supported.
The afternoon workshop explored the new Prosci Change Scorecard. The appetite for measurement was unmistakable. For leading practitioners, I think the challenge and opportunity of measurement is center stage, and this group really dove into the three dimensions of measurement in the Prosci Change Scorecard:
Change Management Performance
One of the key takeaways for this session was uncovering the important (though seemingly common sense) notion that “if we don’t define it, we can’t measure it” at several different levels. All too often, initiatives move full steam ahead without ever really defining the actual expected results and outcomes (they end up doing what I call “chasing aspirations”). Similarly, work is done to manage the people side of change without actually defining what those people side changes will be. During breakouts, this room of passionate change practitioners tackled the challenges of measurement with a new scorecard that provided a framework and language for both outcome and activity measurement.
Well, there is my (not so) quick recap of an amazingly fulfilling two days with the Minnesota Change Management Network. I do want to thank everyone who showed up—not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well. The energy you all brought was spectacular and showed in the discussions, outputs and next steps you are all taking. I thank you for helping make this such a great event for each other and for me.
Here is what people had to say about the MNCMN Professional Development Event:
If you enjoyed Tim’s presentations and would like to continue your change management journey guided by his expert instruction, join us on April 27-28 in San Francisco, CA, where Tim will be delivering a hands-on workshop for anyone interested or enrolled in Prosci Advanced Certification Tracks.
This is an incredible opportunity to learn advanced change management, ride the cable cars and take in the iconic Golden Gate Bridge! We hope to see you there!
Tim Creasey is Prosci’s Chief Innovation Officer and a globally recognized leader in change management. His work forms the foundation of the largest body of knowledge in the world on managing the people side of change to deliver organizational results.