2012 ACMP conference summary: Trends in change management

Back from the second international Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) conference, we would like to give you a summary of our learnings from this unique event in change management. Held in Las Vegas from April 1 to 4, the conference brought together 800 change management professionals from the world over, including a few consultants from the Brio planet.

We observed that change management is a discipline that is increasingly recognized and certainly evolving, as further evidenced by a study published by Prosci: more than 72% of respondents— about 650 change management professionals from 62 countries— say they rely on a structured approach in change management, whereas only 34% did so in 2003.

Here are a few observations revealed by this study and discussed at the conference:

  • The presence of active and visible promoters of change turns out to be the most important success factor in a change project. Second come frequent and transparent communications on change, while a structured approach is third. The fourth is represented by human and financial resources specifically allocated to change management, and finally, the fifth factor includes both employee commitment and participation.
  • Providing behind-the-scenes support to promoters and managers was identified by change management professionals as the most effective means to promote change, support teams during the transition, etc. The more we can make it easier for managers and guide them through the change process, the more capable they are to play their role effectively as leaders of change.
  • Employees appreciate getting personal messages, for example concerning recognition and positive reinforcement, from their immediate supervisor, while receiving organizational-oriented messages, such as the reasons behind a change project, from senior management. Those are key elements worth considering when developing your communication strategies.
  • The reasons behind a change project (why?) have been identified by employees as the most important message to communicate to them during transformations, while it is the second most important for managers and executives. For the latter, the most important message is knowing their role and what the organization expects from them.
  • Change management professionals face a dilemma when launching change management activities when the target situation is not well defined. Also according to the Prosci study, it is recommended to begin with a work plan that helps develop a description of the desired situation and the need to change, followed by a context analysis and the risk factors of the project.

Those are just a few of the learnings or confirmations of what we may have already known, but still very useful and often forgotten in the heat of the action. We will provide you with more information on these developments in our practice over the next few months. Because even change management needs to change.