Off-the-shelf change management training is great. I hold a certification from one of the big ones and have experience with a couple others. When you’re a business leader and you are facing a big (or small) change in your organization that you need to lead (and let’s face it, who isn’t in that position?), these get you going in the right direction. It’s great to train your management team and begin creating a culture for change. These training programs provide foundational skills that create a common framework and language for tackling a business change. The programs are easy to obtain and are scheduled or delivered to employees easily and quickly (which is good for times when your training budget is about to expire).
But in my opinion, it really is only a start. The tricky part is using the models with your unique set of circumstances and your unique set of individuals involved in the change that needs to happen. You get basic knowledge for leading change but miss one key ingredient – a personal approach to people and each individual change initiative.
Like every great framework, the magic happens when you apply it! When you complete the training, you might be left thinking “Now what? How can that work here? How do I implement that in my situation? Will this actually work with my people and for my change?” The answer is YES, but you’re more likely to succeed if you layer in insights about your people. If you can get objective data for that, all the better.
I often speak about the importance of using people data in change management. We tend to forget that change starts and ends with people. According to Forbes, 70% of change initiatives fail to meet their goals due to employee resistance and lack of manager support. The art that complements the science of a change management model is understanding the unique communication styles of your people and creating an approach that honors those preferences. Employees resist and managers lack support when they aren’t addressed in a way that resonates with them. Guiding people through a change requires a personalized touch that you can get from people data.
If you have behavioral data on your employees, use it! If you don’t, I advocate for investing in your greatest asset – your people. I use a tool called Predictive Index to gather behavioral preferences of individuals and teams, and this informs the way a change plan is delivered, so you don’t have to guess or do more than necessary to address every communication or learning style. This is a great (I’d argue necessary!) second step to applying a standard change management model. It personalizes the model to be uniquely the right fit for the people you are leading through a change.
Sound daunting? I get it. That’s why we’re here to help! If you have already invested in an off-the-shelf change management training product, you’re off to a great start. Keep going! We can help you make it applicable and action-based with your REAL work! Positive Delta can come alongside your team and personalize the experience to your unique situation.
This article was originally published by Adrienne Guerrero on LinkedIn.