Last week I attended Change Management 2017, the annual professional development conference organized by the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP). It was a great event attended by more than a thousand practitioners. It was extremely well done and beneficial to all who attended. Participating in the event reminded me of my personal change management journey through the past thirty years and all of the learning and development opportunities that have shaped my expertise as a change management consultant, coach and facilitator.
Your journey may take a different path. If you are still interested in your continued professional development, consider these ten strategies:
- Earn a change management certification – Every practitioner needs a solid foundation in the principles of change management. Adopt a change management methodology with processes and tools that are proven, recognized, simple to apply and results focused. Select a change management certification program that requires you to demonstrate your understanding of the discipline AND validates your ability to apply the methodology, processes and tools.
- Practice every day – You are challenged by changes occurring in your personal and professional life every day. Practice the change management consulting skills and the techniques you learned in change management training programs to understand your resistance to these changes and implement strategies to achieve adoption and acceptance. Establish a change management filter and use it to manage changes.
- Join and contribute to ACMP – Professional associations, network groups, online chats and communities of practice are all great opportunities to further your professional development. Choose events and organizations that will help you grow in your understanding of the discipline and practice application of change management models and methodologies.
- Read and write throughout your career – The best way to expand your understanding and stretch your ability is to establish a solid foundation, push the boundaries and share your experiences with others. Technology puts a tremendous amount of information at our fingertips. Be a voracious reader. Challenge contemporary and long standing theories. Share your reactions, ideas and findings. We want to hear from you.
- Teach while you consult and consult while you teach – Consulting, coaching and teaching are all unique skills. Each requires tremendous practice in its own right. You know when you are advancing in your career when you consciously shift your focus and capability from a practitioner focused on “doing” change management to the level of change management thought leader able to practice the art of consulting and teaching simultaneously.
- Contribute to the body of knowledge – Every change management consulting opportunity is different and presents an opportunity to expand our thinking and challenge our status quo approach. Document and share the customizations, adaptations and new tools, techniques and applications you invent. Sharing and publishing these advances are important contributions to the body of knowledge and serve to advance the discipline.
- Share your experiences – Successful change management experiences are worth sharing. We learn from each other’s successes and failures. Have the confidence to tell your story to our community. When others can leverage the outcomes from your experience, we improve the perceived value of change management and we reinforce the skill and competency of practitioners.
- Establish a professional network – Formal organizations like ACMP provide a valuable professional development opportunity and an organized structure for learning and sharing. Supplement these formal networks by creating your own personal professional network. Identify mentors and colleagues who have opinions and perspectives you value and support.
- Coach and mentor – At a point in your career, you become the expert and have responsibility to coach and mentor others. Your contributions to the body of knowledge, your consulting experience, your writing and speaking position you as a change management resource to others. Give back to the community by being present coaching and mentoring emerging practitioners.
- Aspire to be a change management thought leader – You should be in front of the room at a future ACMP Global Conference sharing your experiences, thoughts and ideas. You can be the author of books, articles, papers and blogs reshaping the way practitioners and leaders think about change management. You can be the thought leader who defines the next breakthrough idea in our discipline. Don’t be afraid to step up to the challenge.
This is a professional life journey. Not all of us have the desire to lead, yet all of us want to be the best we can be in our skill and ability to serve our clients. We know the status quo is rarely the best strategy as a career path. For those of you who have the aspiration to be at the top of our field, consider these ten strategies. Let’s practice what we preach:
- Consider your current state.
- Define your desired state.
- Build a delta state roadmap that incorporates these recommendations.
- Manage the resistance.
- Sustain the gain.