Meet My Alter Ego: Change Management Evangelist

When’s the last time you reflected on why you liked what you like?

I heard that you could increase your job satisfaction by finding a job that meets some deep, personal need. As I’ve described on the blog, I have an incessant need to solve problems. I tend to see things as puzzles, but I’ve often become frustrated that I couldn’t solve them.

Change management (CM) and project management (PM) have given me tools to improve my skills in this area, providing some order to this otherwise chaotic, hyperactive brain. This post will provide some background on how I came to appreciate CM/PM and what you can expect from my CM/PM-focused posts.

I spent some time thinking about how I became such an evangelist for change management, and I had to go back through my career. Corporate training was the first job I really liked, and I was good at it. I’d become successful by using my public speaking skills and intuition as a facilitator. But not having an organized, repeatable, and reliable approach to developing courses put me at a disadvantage.

One day, I learned about an instructional design framework called ADDIE (Naji, 2016)  – Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation – and it’s hard to describe how much this helped me as a trainer. ADDIE offered a systematic way to solve my training problems, and the best part was that I didn’t lose my creativity. In fact, it allowed my imagination to blossom even more. As a result, I became a much better trainer.

After I moved out of training & development and into organizational effectiveness, I again had the issue of not having proven approaches to make improvements. I could see where my team was and where I wanted it to go, but I didn’t have a good plan to get there. In fact, I didn’t even know what the plan was. I’d look at my inputs – me and all my skill sets, the team and their skillsets, the culture, our morale, what I was learning in school, what other managers were doing, etc. – but I couldn’t get to the other side of making meaningful results. I managed to get on well enough, but it was hard, and I felt like a fraud next to my colleagues.

So, imagine my excitement when I learned about organizational change management (OCM)!. There are dozens of frameworks that all consist of helping to change human behavior with the hope of moving as many people as possible from point A to point B. And after I learned about project management (PM) – the practical tools to move from point A to point B – I felt even more equipped. 

OCM helped me with the “what”; PM helped me with the “how.”  

I have not solved the world’s biggest problems with my instructional design, change management, or project management skills, but these concepts have given me the tools to approach life with greater confidence. I’ve applied these principles with great success, whether at work or at home. I’ve wanted to share what I’ve learned with the community out of gratitude. In addition, I wanted to share how one could integrate CM and PM into one strategy. I haven’t seen a lot of people tackle these issues together. Probably because it’s damn hard, though, not impossible.

That’s the primary reason I was excited about Beyond Performance 2.0 (Keller & Schaninger, 2019). The authors don’t use the terms the same way I do, but it’s the best and most recent work I’ve read that tries to integrate the concepts of “what” and “how.” I started reading the book some time ago – and with a lot of enthusiasm – but gradually, I took longer breaks in between sessions and ended up losing momentum and forgetting most of what I read. So, I plan to share the highlights of the text on this blog to rekindle the change management flame and crystallize my learnings from the book.   

The terms “change management” and “project management” can feel cold and dry. They can feel so corporate. That said, the guidance and tools they offer have contributed to significant positive changes for me, personally and professionally. My goal is to find a way to share CM/PM info that doesn’t put you (or me) to sleep, which helps me test my hypothesis. I believe that change/project management principles are practical at work and can also be applied to improve the quality of your life.

Citations

Naji, C. (2021, November 16). Addie Training Model: Steps, examples, and outdated myths. RSS. Retrieved January 14, 2022, from https://www.eduflow.com/blog/addie-training-model-steps-examples-and-outdated-myths 

Keller, S. & Schaninger, B. (2019) Beyond Performance 2.0: A Proven Approach to Leading Large-Scale Change. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Blogging Goals for 2022

I have three blogging goals for 2022:

  1. To finish the year with 100 posts and 50 followers (currently at 56 and 16)
  2. To write for at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week, and
  3. To feel confident about the quality of my posts.

I used a lot of mental horsepower to obsess over details like how long my posts should be and how frequently I should post. How do I make better titles? Better endings? Should I be more personal or keep it professional? And what will attract the most readers?

These, and others, were great questions – but none of them are essential when I think about the blog’s purpose. I remembered that I started the blog to help crystallize learnings and share insights from media – mostly print media – that I’ve consumed. This hobby allows me to be curious; therefore, the focus is on discovery, not predictability. Instead of focusing on engagement, I can find my writing voice.

To that end, these goals are broad enough for me to have room to explore but specific enough to help me improve my craft. My list of blogging prompts is virtually impossible to deplete. And my list of book chapters to review is even longer. So I’ll get a lot of practice and hopefully come out of 2022 a better writer than I started.