Propeller consultant, Rachel Crocker, recently attended the Association of Change Management Professionals Global Conference in New Orleans. Once we got past our questions about the gumbo and chicory coffee, we gleaned some insights about the topics that are on the forefront of the practice of change management from Rachel. 

Four days of change management insights sounds like a ton of information TO ABSORB. Much like a crawfish boil, how would you boil down your main takeaways? 

I think it’s easy to see change management through our own personal lens of projects, practices, and tools. I witnessed a lot of creative applications of change management principles that challenged my thinking and perspective.  

Interesting! What are some of the new trends that you saw emerging from the conversations you took part in? 

I observed a lot of topics centering around the idea of representing training materials or communications in general in a more interactive and playful way. For example, storytelling, utilizing Legos or toys, or creating games out of new information were popular topics. This year made me think a lot more about the end user and how to appeal to the inner curious child in all of us. 

Will you change the way you approach change management practice based on new learnings? 

I think what I most took away from the conference is the importance of tailored application of practices and tools to better serve all stakeholders. Instead of being married to specific methodologies, tools or practices, change managers should constantly challenge themselves to construct solutions that best serve the culture of the business. 

Great point, culture is an essential component of change efforts. What do you think are the biggest risks companies face when they need to transform their business?   

Transformation is always risky. Leadership traditionally does a great job of crafting a strategic mission or vision statement that embodies the reason for the change. What is sometimes overlooked is the translation to the end users or mid-level leadership, who will ultimately be reinforcing the change. In 3 words, “make it tangible”.

This is interesting because people learn in different ways. People also tend to be afraid of change. How do you deal with that? 

Change is most commonly associated with fear, especially when there’s a significant unknown. In order to combat this, I think about the “who” behind the future state and try to make sure messaging and communications are tailored to ensure they understand the reason for the change and what this will ultimately mean in their day-to-day. Mid-level leadership, when engaged and informed, can serve as vessels for feedback and champions of the change effort. 

If you'd like to read more about change management, be sure to check out the following case studies and blogs: 

·      Case Study: Going Paperless at a Financial Services Company 

·      Blog: Look to Change Leadership, Not Change Management, For Business Transformation

·      Blog: Lessons in Change From The Military