Effective Solutions Through Partnership

Category Archives: Organizational Change Management (OCM)

Applying your Prosci Certification in the Real World

ADKAR, Best Practices, KAIP Academy, Learning, Managing/Leadership, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Prosci, Training

By Elizabeth Long

Having a certification like Prosci is valuable in terms of provide knowledge and framework around the Prosci ADKAR® Model. It’s also a great way to show your credibility as a practitioner of change management.

While the certification provides a good foundation—and is something I recommend my fellow change managers think about obtaining themselves—much of the work happens when you get onsite and observe and evaluate the organization with which you’re working.

I’ve seen my share of people come in to an organization with various degrees and certifications and while they can provide a lot of strategic or academic talk, their ability to recommend and implement the tactics is lacking.

If you simply take the methodologies and apply them in a cookie-cutter way, your chances of change management success are slim. Every organization or client is different. The people differ, the company culture differs—you need to be able to take these always-different environments and connect with people on a human level. That is when the action really happens.

So, with certification in hand, how do you integration that human connection into your work, so that people feel connected and valued (i.e., open to change?) Here are some of my best practices:

  1. Build Relationships. Determine who your primary stakeholders are and build relationships with them. Through these relationships, you’ll learn about the organization and its challenges; plus, these folks will also help guide you to determine which methodologies you should recommend to implement. By understanding what the organization needs, you can determine how to best apply the changes. Remember, nothing is cookie cutter.
  2. Be Authentic. You need to genuinely want to develop these relationships and get to know people. If you honor your word—when you say you’re going to do something, do it—then the people in the organization will see that and be more likely to take your recommendations and provide you the opportunity to do your work. Authenticity builds trust with your partners. The recommendations you make will be much more well-received if you have trust—trust that is gained by being authentic.
  3. Be a Leader.I’m currently reading the book, “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win,” by Jacko Willink and Leif Babin. Among other things, it’s about a Navy SEAL platoon and how they develop leaders within the SEALs. The ‘leader’ is a role on the team, everyone plays a critical role—it is the leader’s main job to communicate the ‘why’ of the mission and explain each person’s role and how it is critical to accomplish the mission. This helps the team develop a belief in the mission. While on a much smaller scale, change management works similarly. The most critical thing a leader can do is share the vision and the mission—the WHY we are doing something. (In Prosci terms, this is referred to as developing the desire.) Being a leader is learned from putting your certification knowledge into action in the field. Leaders make realistic assessments, acknowledge failures, take ownership of issue, and develop plans to improve. Prosci is the framework, but your experience is the engine that will drive your success on the ground as a Prosci leader!

As you begin applying your Prosci certification in your work, remember that it is a guideline—the desire to change and understanding the people you’re working with goes beyond methods and is all about understanding the real-world application.

About the Author: Elizabeth Long is a professional Organization Development Consultant and Curriculum Developer/Trainer. She received her Certification in Organizational Change Management from Prosci and is certified in e-learning development from Langevine Learning Center. Elizabeth has worked in many industries: High tech, healthcare, and state and local government. Currently, Elizabeth works as an Executive Consultant with KAI Partners, Inc. as a contractor working in a variety of California State Departments. Elizabeth has lived in Sacramento for the past 17 years and appreciates the history of Sacramento as well as its convenience to many well-known destinations like San Francisco, Tahoe, and Reno.

Why Workforce Development is Everybody’s Business

Government, Hiring, Learning, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Sacramento, Small Business, Startup Company, Technology, Training

By Stephen Alfano

Scan the U.S. economic forecast newsfeeds today and you’ll find nearly all of them contain or point to a reference about the status of the available workforce.

The reason for this attention is quite clear: Research continues to show the country in the middle of an employment crisis with rapidly declining rolls, due in large part to an aging population (10,000 retirees a day), coupled with the widening knowledge-base and skills gap among entry-level and mid-career candidates looking to be the backfill.

Of course, the employment crisis isn’t just a U.S. issue. Large and small employers, and national and local politicians the world over are involved in the response—especially where economic empowerment in the form of access to good paying jobs and career advancing training comes into play. In other words, workforce development is everyone’s business.

Originally designed to address the needs of personnel rather than businesses, workforce development has evolved to become an all-encompassing economic growth catchphrase used to describe multifaceted, multiphasic initiatives that attempt to knock down a wide array of employment barriers and achieve overall labor goals of a region.

Today, when business leaders and politicians talk about workforce development, they do so in terms of socio-economic reforms in education, urban planning, tax policy, and social services (to name a few of the areas affected).

Regardless of the size of their payroll or party affiliation, these community stalwarts are undeniably talking about jobs. They are talking about good paying jobs, jobs that require skills in high demand. The kind of jobs that attract—and keep—employees rooted in the region. And there’s the rub—as the Harvard Business Review (HBR) points out in a recently published article.

With insight (data analysis) pulled from requirements from job listings posted since 2008, the HBR identifies the growing skills gap found in U.S. labor pool since the “Great Recession.” In case you don’t have spare time to read the whole article, here’s an abridged version to help point out why (and where) workforce development is needed:

“[Recent research has established] a new fact: the skill requirements of job ads increased in metro areas that suffered larger employment shocks in the Great Recession … the companies that reacted to the recession by looking for more skilled workers were still pursuing that strategy five years later.”

“[Specifically, job ads in] hard-hit metro area are about 5 percentage points (16%) more likely to contain education and experience requirements and about 2–3 percentage points (8‒12%) more likely to include requirements for analytical and computer skills … [and nearly all] education, experience, analytical aptitude, and computer skills — have been found to complement new technologies … [identified in the job postings] analytical requirements by the presence of keywords like “research,” “decision,” and “solving.”

“… [it was found] that businesses more severely affected by the Great Recession were more likely to invest in new technology, and while this technology may have helped replace some forms of routine jobs, it apparently increased the demand for greater worker skills for other routine jobs.”

The Sacramento metro region was one of the areas hardest hit by the “Great Recession.” (When the “housing bubble” burst, the economy suffered another big shock with the exit of several large employers.) The resulting devalued homes and downturn in available jobs crippled the Capital Corridor’s economy—it took nearly 10 years for a modest rebound to take place.

As of October 2017, there are relatively few underwater properties left in the area inventory. Unfortunately, there are still hundreds of area residents underemployed and too few big employer prospects in the pipeline. Sounds like the right market conditions for an innovative and inclusive workforce development initiative, specifically one that will:

  1. Ensure business and civic leaders work together regularly to identify and then mitigate skill gaps in the labor pool addressing regional employment challenges through dedicated sponsorship and resource allocations;
  2. Employ empirical data analysis and change management best practices in tandem to inform and guide employers and employees on how to fulfill growing or evolving job requirements in alignment with regional marketplace growth goals and objectives;
  3. Enlist subject matter experts and key stakeholders to create processes and governance and compliance policies and procedures that will facilitate reconfiguring or reconstructing regional human resource management goals and objectives on an ongoing basis; and
  4. Engage and empower instructors and advisors to help train and promote work-ready employees for both short and long-term economic growth objectives that serve vital regional business and public sector needs for better prepared and for higher-qualified candidates.

Who’s with me?

About the Author: Stephen Alfano is an Organizational Change Management Consultant and Communications Expert. He has over 25 years of experience leading and managing internal and external marketing initiatives for both private and public-sector clients. His résumé includes providing both new business and business process improvement services to Apple, American Express, AT&T, California Department of Transportation, Chevron, Entergy, Levi Strauss & Co., Louisiana Office of Tourism, Mattel, Microsoft, Novell, SONY, Sutter Health, and Wells Fargo. Stephen currently works as an Executive Consultant with KAI Partners, Inc., providing change management and communications expertise and support services to California State Departments.

Why you Should Document Business Processes

Best Practices, Business Analysis, Documentation, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Project Management, Small Business

By Denise Larcade

One thing I’ve seen in my 25+ years working in change management and business analysis is that documenting Business Processes and supporting documents like Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) adds value to a business in a variety of ways.

Unfortunately, some believe that documenting processes and procedures is not always the most exciting of tasks, and it’s often put off from one person to the next. Before you know it, the documented process for a task may be severely outdated—or nonexistent.

A lack of documentation can reduce efficiency of your business if, for example, someone goes on vacation. The back-up who’s covering for them should have access to the Business Process Diagram (BPD) and accompanying SOPs so they can do the job of the person who’s out. If there’s no documentation, the back-up has no idea what to do. The impact to the business is that while the process may be well-defined and streamlined, if it’s not documented, then time and labor is not utilized efficiently.

A complete lack of documentation can be a major problem if an employee leaves. Without knowing their day-to-day processes, it will be difficult to hire a qualified person to take over for them, not to mention keeping business running in the interim.

Luckily, documenting processes and procedures is not a daunting task. Businesses of any size can and should document their process. KAI Partners, a certified small business with fewer than 100 employees, regularly documents its processes and procedures.

When starting out, a good rule of thumb is that each WHAT documented in the BPD should be supported by some documentation on HOW (oftentimes an SOP). Further, when the Business Processes are updated, the accompanying SOP should be updated at the same time.

For example, if the diagram step in the BPD states, “Create Invoice,” there should be a manual/guide, SOP, or job aid detailing how to create the invoice. If today the invoice is created on a Mac and tomorrow it’s changed to a PC, the step in the BPD may not change, but the supporting documents will.

So, what do you do once you’ve documented your Business Processes? Stick them in a drawer and forget about them? No!

Depending on your current business state, you should look at your Business Processes quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. For mergers and acquisitions, I recommending looking at your processes quarterly. If your business is not going through a major change, you should check in with your Business Processes every six months or every year.

When you do regular audits of your business process, you’re checking for:

  1. Accuracy.Is everything the same, or have you made any business changes that should be updated? Think about the scenario above—if the software used to create the invoice is inaccessible due to a licensing issue, a work around may need to be created to keep the BPD current. If the work around does not have a solution date and may be a long-term work around, you should consider updating the BPD to reflect that. (Another reason why regularly-scheduled reviews are valuable—it forces the business owner to address something that was supposed to have been fixed by a certain date.)
  2. Improvements. Is there a way you can improve or streamline the process? What steps no longer need to be done or how can we automate? Perform a cost analysis to determine which step is most efficient.
  3. Future state. What may the future of this process look like? Look at how is the industry shifting or how have other organizations changed. If there’s a new system the industry is using, assess the initial cost to stand up using a new system, as well as the cost over time to change to the new process. This information will be helpful in the future, as changes start making their way down the pike.

I recommend every business—large or small—regularly document and update their processes and procedures. For those who are on the fence, just remember that while eliminating processes may eliminate roles, streamlining a business process means you can now put people in roles that need more attention. This will help your business running at its most efficient.

About the Author: Denise Larcade is an Organizational Development Consultant and Merger and Acquisitions Expert. She has over 25 years of experience in training, development, and leading companies through organizational change management. Denise has worked in corporate retail, technology, and government healthcare and most recently has experience with large-scale implementations nationwide. She currently works as an Executive Consultant with KAI Partners, Inc., providing client support to one of KAI Partners’ state clients. Denise grew up in the Silicon Valley and relocated to Utah and Idaho before recently returning to her native California roots.

4 Ways to Adapt to VUCA

ADKAR, Best Practices, Communications, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Prosci, VUCA

By Debbie Blagsvedt

I recently attended an Association of Talent Management Development (ATD) seminar on Change Management Strategies, as well as a Training Magazine Network webinar called “Leading with Emotional Intelligence (EQ) in the New Workplace.” In both of these seminars, VUCA was mentioned.

VUCA—an acronym for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity—seems to accurately define the world in which we currently live and work. Working in a VUCA environment, combined with the need to quickly and efficiently adapt to rapid-fire change, is forever a part of today’s organizational culture.

A friend of mine—who has recently taken up running half marathons as a hobby—shared with me how Usain Bolt, the world-renowned Jamaican sprinter, became the 21st athlete to break the world record for the 100m sprint over the last decade. While the 100m record was broken merely four times from 1900 to 1950, the same record was shattered 17 times in the following 50 years!

You may ask, what does shattering world records have to do with VUCA in the workplace? Research shows that the time span between the launch of a new product and its extinction from the market is decreasing every year. This results in shorter lifespans of companies, a constant overhauling of ways of working, and disruption and change brought about by technology and customer demands. The effects of these changes across the globe happen at lightning speed, and all with VUCA at their core!

In the workplace, the churning of change running constantly in the forefront can result in change fatigue, employees face down, with their noses to the grindstone. Add to that the tension, fear, and a grappling within ourselves as to whether we have the competence and the confidence to take on this new world. The result is oftentimes employees waiting for the latest trend to blow over so they can get back to what they were used to doing.

Unfortunately, that approach doesn’t work well in today’s work environments. After contemplating VUCA and its relationship with change and the topic of “Leading with EQ,” here are some ideas that hopefully will help you ride the VUCA storm:

  1. Take on Volatility with Versatility
    • We all know what it’s iike to have a volatile stock market—unexpected drops and unstable economies are unsettling. Try attacking volatility with versatility—it is essential to hone your ability to be flexible and adapt to different situations. Remember Gumby, that clay figure youngsters loved to bend so the legs were on top of his head yet Gumpy could still stand on his feet? Next time you are faced with volatility, be Gumby-like!
  2. Move from Uncertainty to Understanding
    • A common reaction to uncertainty is fear, which typically leads to resistance. In today’s digital age, technology is a key defense for increasing understanding and awareness. This can be done in many ways including through shared dashboards, online collaboration tools, simple instant messages, and targeted SMS communications. Try creating online learning communities as a forum for employees to learn from each other. This can increase employees’ awareness of what is and what isn’t known which can help reduce fear and even stress.
  3. Tackle Complexity by Building Connections
    • Create direct connections among people across the organization to allow them to sidestep cumbersome hierarchal protocols. Remove barriers and create connections to foster more direct and instant connections, allowing employees to share valuable information, find answers, and get help and advice from people capable of providing the answers. Equally as important in tackling complexity is to build organizational competencies to succeed in tackling complex issues.
  4. Address Ambiguity with Leadership Agility
    • Develop a vison that accounts for VUCA. Stay focused and be a role model to employees in leading and navigating through the chaos. Build change stamina by being aware of the state of readiness of the organization at all times. Use surveys to assess change readiness and learn how it will impact employees. Put stretch goals into place, make them fun, and reward employees for tackling them.

These are just a few ways to adapt your leadership or personal development for the rollercoaster that is VUCA. How do you manage change in your workplace?

About the Author: Debbie Blagsvedt is an Organizational Change Consultant with over 25 years’ experience in change management, performance management, process improvement, training, and facilitation. She has a worked in both the private, public, and non-profit sectors in industries that include health, legal, financial, social services, high tech, and transportation. She currently works as an Organizational Change Consultant with KAI Partners on assignment with a child welfare services agency.  Debbie is passionate about collaboration among teams which she believes leads to high employee satisfaction and is equally fascinated with the rapid-fire speed of change and what it means for organizations today. Debbie grew up in the bay area but now considers Sacramento her home. She has many interests from home projects to wine tasting, volunteering, witnessing the changing face of Sacramento, and going on new adventures with her family and friends. Not to mention nightly walks and occasional mountain hikes with her dog, Emmett.

Why—and How—You Should Implement a Training Workgroup

Best Practices, Corporate Training, KAIP Academy, Learning, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Project Management, Prosci, Team Building, Train the Trainer, Training

By Elizabeth Long

Oftentimes, change management consultants enter a project and provide training resources and knowledge for their client. When the project is over, the consultants take these resources and knowledge with them and the client is left without the tools needed to replicate the work in the future.

Something I strive for as a change management leader on my projects is making sure the knowledge stays internal. I want to make sure the client knows what the consultants know, so that client has the information when the consultants leave.

After over 20 years of providing change management and training for clients across all kinds of industries, something I have found that works wonders is a Train the Trainer approach. With a Train the Trainer approach, a training workgroup is developed. This is a training implementation approach that directly engages the client. The training workgroup is important for knowledge transfer and for client ownership of the product.

Here are my recommended steps for creating the framework for a training workgroup in your organization:

  1. Assess the organizational structure and current training environment. Assess who in the organization is qualified to represent their location or department in the training workgroup. If the organization already has training staff in place, great—these folks are likely a natural fit for the training workgroup.
  2. Ask for volunteers to apply for the training workgroup. It’s important that the people identified in step 1 are interested in and want to be involved in the workgroup. After assessing the organizational structure and coming up with a list of possible participants, I recommend asking those who are qualified to officially submit their interest. You’ll be surprised how many people will want to be involved.
  3. Train the trainers. Once the training workgroup is created, members are trained to be able to deliver trainings to their peers. Here they will learn training best practices, presentation skills, and more.
  4. Deliver and check in. When the materials and trainers are ready, it’s time to deliver! Make sure the workgroup checks in regularly to assess how the training plans and resources are working, if there are areas for improvement, etc.

It can take some time, effort, and planning to get the training workgroup set up, but its benefits are numerous. Here are a few:

  1. Aligns employees across different locations. If you have an audience that’s widespread—perhaps there are satellite or virtual offices across cities or states—the representative from each office becomes that location’s training representative. This person brings back knowledge to the staff at their location. This helps create consistency by making sure employees across the organization are relayed the same information.
  2. Reduces travel/cost savings. A natural benefit of the training workgroup is that it cuts down on travel. Instead of sending an entire training team over to a satellite office—or sending the entire satellite office to headquarters for training—the location’s representative manages the training of the staff at his or her location.
  3. Empowers employees and provides them a new skill-set. We recently talked about career development and how important it is for employees to continuously learn and grow in their jobs. Allowing employees to be involved through the training workgroup can increase their skill-set and open them up to future opportunities within the organization.
  4. Knowledge stays in-house. Most importantly, the knowledge, resources, and plans stay with the organization. Once the internal training workgroup creates training plans and resources, there are now materials on-hand to use for new-hires, transfers, those promoting to new roles, etc. People are trained appropriately and are fully prepared with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed.

I have found that implementing a training workgroup can help break down the silos and bring people together. Members of training workgroups often reach out to one another directly to help problem-solve, which adds a layer of collaboration and cohesion within the organization.

Interested in creating a training workgroup or have additional questions? Email us at info@kaipartners.com or ask your question in the comments! Happy training to you!

About the Author: Elizabeth Long is a professional Organization Development Consultant and Curriculum Developer/Trainer. She received her Certification in Organizational Change Management from Prosci and is certified in e-learning development from Langevine Learning Center. Elizabeth has worked in many industries: High tech, healthcare, and state and local government. Currently, Elizabeth works as an Executive Consultant with KAI Partners, Inc. as a contractor working in a variety of California State Departments. Elizabeth has lived in Sacramento for the past 17 years and appreciates the history of Sacramento as well as its convenience to many well-known destinations like San Francisco, Tahoe, and Reno.

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