What does it take to become a successful change practitioner? From communication to strategic thinking, change practitioners rely on a wide skill set to achieve their objectives. To help you understand the type of person and the expertise needed to manage organisational change, we have created a list of what we believe are 4 critical skills of a change practitioner.
1. Advanced Communication
Excellent communication skills should flow through the change practitioner's veins as their role involves direct communication with people at various level of seniority in different business functions within and across the organisation. They understand the requirements of different internal audiences, how to contextualise the required information and how to make information relevant to a specific employee's job role.
They have the ability to share best change management practices and communicate precisely to senior leader Sponsors and Line Managers what activities need to change if the initiative is to be successfully adopted. Above all, they must be open, honest and very straightforward about the organisation’s ability to effectively manage change. Telling the truth about the situation to those who hold power will help to eradicate a culture of hiding problems and instead create a way of working that is solution oriented.
Change management practitioners must also focus their efforts on gaining the support for change management; making the business case for investing in change management to influential sponsors including senior executives. Therefore they must have the ability to correspond, influence and communicate the value that effective change management can confer on an organisation’s competitive advantage.
2. Expert Coach
Change management practitioners are often seen as the designers of the change management strategy. Part of this designer role is encouraging, developing and supporting the ability of line managers to coach employees in their required role in a specific change initiative. To fulfil this aspect they must possess up-to-date change management knowledge, having a solid understanding of change methodologies, frameworks, and best practices; combined with an exceptional ability to apply key change frameworks through different individual and group exercises, workshops and other interventions.
3. Strategic Thinker
They must be visionaries and look towards creating strategic change plans for the future. They should have the ability to take advantage of change management methodologies and tailor them to their own specific project or change initiative. They must also be able to draw on external resources and be able to strategically find ways to implement them into their current and future strategies.
The long-term change management strategies must always be positioned in the forefront of their mind to ensure that the organisation never lags behind, they can move forward, any opportunity can be taken advantage of, and they are continuously striving towards new and improved ways to tackle change management more effectively.
As required they can strategically assess what projects or new initiatives will directly impact the way in which employees work, and build plans to mitigate employee resistance and in general help them to appreciate the change.
4. Project Management skills
Following the Prosci methodology, effective change practitioners should assess a change in terms of the people side and also the technical side to ensure both the change is accepted and supported, and the change is delivered correctly. They must have the necessary project management knowledge, techniques, and tools in order to deliver a successful change management plan. This will involve outlining dependencies, outcomes, who is responsible, and what resources are available. Similar to project management, they will need to review the outcomes of the change, and what progress still needs to be done.
If these skills sound like you or you are interested in developing the skills to become a certified change manager then take a look at our Prosci Change Management Certification Programme. If you already possess these traits and are already certified you may be interested in our Prosci Experienced Practitioner Programme.