Change Management Day 1

July 30, 2009
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Tucked away in the Colorado Rockies, Peaceful Valley Ranch exudes rustic charm. The smell of horses, the constant rushing of the St. Vrain River drowns out all other noise. How beautiful that something so active, so powerful, can be so calming. Nestled around a camp fire, the lady next to me says, “My four year […]

Tucked away in the Colorado Rockies, Peaceful Valley Ranch exudes rustic charm. The smell of horses, the constant rushing of the St. Vrain River drowns out all other noise. How beautiful that something so active, so powerful, can be so calming. Nestled around a camp fire, the lady next to me says, “My four year old would say, ‘It’s nature Mama!’ – pronouncing ‘nature’ like ‘nay-chore’.” Love it! A gentleman with a kind eye, joins the group. He’s from Saudi Arabia. When asked what brought him here, he succinctly and eloquently notes,

“Change is needed everywhere.”

Change Management Conference at Peaceful Valley Ranch

Change Management Conference at Peaceful Valley Ranch

Some folks are clearly concerned that their rooms don’t have any TVs, but most are excited to be immersed in a spectacular setting ready to learn about change management. A thunderstorm rolls in – I hope there are some big boomers!

Fifteen people have gathered from around the world for a 3-day change management course by Prosci. Fortune 100 and 500 companies, small business, education, high tech, health care – all all represented. One evening with these folks and I can already tell these next three days are going to be fascinating. A young, soon to be father, who claims the professional titles of social media guru, professional blogger, and Wiki Master, shares that he has been doing change management for years, but he knows he needs to stop the wild, wild west approach and learn about a structured approach to be more effective. He doesn’t seem old enough to use the words, “I’ve been doing change management for years.” Who knows – he may surprise the hell out of me! (He did in fact – I hired him as a social media consultant!)

Change Management Day 1 Lessons
  1. Change management is a must skill. Astute organizations and individuals recognize the need to build their skills to respond quickly, be adaptable, embrace agility. As the gentleman from Saudi Arabia noted, “Change is needed everywhere.”
  2. Change starts one person at a time. The people at this conference all expressed the need to ‘take this back’ to their organizations and figure out how to manage change – better. No small task – even for ‘Wiki Masters’.
  3. Thinking and doing are two different skills. Understanding, intellectually, what change management is – is not enough. Utilizing the change management models, research, and best practices to make a difference in the real world is where it gets interesting (and harder).
  4. A fork in the river, ‘riverfork’, is a powerful metaphor for change management. ‘River’ represents constant change. ‘Fork’ represents choice – you either let the river take you wherever it goes or you learn how to steer.
  5. Get some rest. Change management is a skill that requires ‘right mindfulness’ – to stay in touch with your surroundings, to listen deeply, to open up and stay with the change (and the people impacted) every step of the way. This requires a lot of energy. Get some rest.