As I get ready to close my laptop lid for the last time year, the need to write this final blog on reflections and themes from the classroom has granted me the opportunity to look back in a little more detail than I would normally.
The year started with most of us still immersed in one of the largest health crisis the world has faced in decades; and still working in an 'abnormal' way; what we had yet to realise was that covid had fundamentally altered ‘normal' and we were going to have to define the new normal.
Crunching the numbers
But before we get there, I had the opportunity to ‘crunch the numbers’, which is enough to scare the real accountants in our organisation. Let’s just say it’s not my strongpoint, perhaps I just squashed the numbers.
Anyway, here we go – I was privileged enough to facilitate the learning experience of over 500 people, across four different continents, who enrolled in a range of different Prosci change management programmes.
Participants in the 36 programmes I delivered represent an incredibly wide range of sectors including financial services, mining, management consulting, pharmaceutical, legal, and a range of public sector organisations (looking after services from mapping the country, to looking after the treasury and managing the environment). And one of those courses was face-to-face - first time since the start of the pandemic, it was absolutely epic! So what?
Probably a good question at this point. As I reflected on the year, I was struck by the incredible range of projects which participants brought into the training room, which included:
- Enhancing health and safety
- Defining Purpose, Vision and Values
- Driving Stakeholder Value and Impact
- Workplace of the future
- Establishment of new departmental structure
- Deployment of a new procurement system
- A unified approach to handling client challenges in the legal industry
- Behavioural framework focused on bringing our ‘way of doing things’ to life
- Refreshing our culture and behaviours
- New ERP implementation
My favourite projects were:
- A project in the management consulting industry focusing on developing a deeper understanding of neurodiversity. Neurodiversity recognizes that people experience and interact with the world around them in many different ways; there is no one "right" way of thinking, learning, and behaving. Understanding the way the people around us experience and interact with the world can lead to more effective ways of working; this struck me as an incredibly good idea in general, not just in the workplace. Isn’t it always a good idea to try and understand the people around us?
- A parking project focusing on fair and practical distribution of parking spaces at the headquarters of a major pharmaceutical company. I’ve often experienced how emotive parking can be in the organisational setting, so this project reinforced the importance of this seemingly insignificant issue, which is far from insignificant
- Optimising the use of forensic specialist on crime scenes – ok so the little boy in me that wanted to be a police detective found this one fascinating
In summary it seems that organisations continue to focus on innovation, process efficiency, optimising systems, improving business processes, aligning operating model with strategy etc.
What remains clear to me is that a structured approach to managing change continues to be as relevant and important as ever; when we get the people side of change right, we have the opportunity to realise a significant return on our investment.
According to Prosci, the three human factors that impact on ROI are speed of adoption, ultimate utilisation and proficiency. And when we don’t get the people side of change, we leave a lot on the table! And finally, if I was to select the biggest topic of the year – it was resistance management.
Resistance to change remains a constant, and everyone wants to know how we just make this go away. For now, I think we should spend more time trying to understand why it is there in the first place; and then remember that one of the main ways to address resistance is to apply sound change management!
And that’s a wrap
And that was 2022. And there will be more change next year I guess? So what? I don't know. But a lot of people were prepared to sacrifice a lot to learn how to better manage the people side of change on their projects. And I believe it will serve them well. To you and your family, have a lovely break and a wonderful 2023.