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“Change management guide,” “change management process,” “change management principles,” “digital transformation,” “organizational change management training”: When I enter “change management” into my Google search bar, and I get pages and pages of comparable results.
As I scroll to the last few entries on the first page, if the algorithm is smiling down on me, I’ll find an ad that mentions “humans at the center of change.” When I click deeper into various articles, it gets slightly better — and I say “slightly” because the human aspect is mentioned, but often not until the very end. In this day of tech-centric language, it’s good to see humans there at all, but … shouldn’t the human element be at the top of the change management search results?
Of course, there are articles and organizations that put an emphasis on the human aspect of change management, but not to the extent that one would expect or hope for. This lack of human-centricity in our editorial focus is in stark contrast to the heavy people-focus of common change management models like ADKAR Model or the Kubler-Ross Change Curve. What’s the root of this disconnect?
And before you think I’m picking on Change Management, I’m not; I conducted searches for Learning & Development (L&D) with very similar results. How is it that disciplines created by, for and around people don’t lead with people?
I’m by no means a change management expert, but I have seen L&D programs fail because no one socialized the learners to the amount of change they would be asked to handle. Especially for smaller L&D initiatives, change management is often an afterthought. On the flip side, organization-wide L&D initiatives may over-emphasize the change management aspect with little to no focus on the actual training. And who is really losing out in all of this? Unfortunately, the learner. Organizations must find the sweet spot that puts the learner at the center in both situations.
Over the years, I’ve developed an adoption and engagement continuum, which allows me to easily tie in training and change management aspects as needed, while positioning the learner at the very center. The continuum is a combination of concepts and frameworks. The key is that, before I jump into the different program phases, I take time to understand my learners by creating learner personas and/or an empathy map. This way, well before the learning is deployed, I have a concept of how to best engage my learners and encourage adoption. Here is a break-down of the continuum:
This continuum, for me, has proven to be successful in getting learners on board and making them feel like they’re a part of the change, not simply experiencing the change passively.
More and more, I’ve seen improvements around how change is being treated as part of training initiatives and I’m hopeful that, over time, the two disciplines will grow together while becoming more human-centered.
If you want to learn how Ardent can help you roll out new training initiatives, contact us today.
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