Let’s gaze into the crystal ball and see what might be in store for change management in 2012:
1. Executives get on board
Many CEOs and executives are aware of the role change management has in delivering bottom line benefits and we will see this trend accelerate. Keep plugging away on building awareness with executives and be prepared with a practical plan on how to build change management capability—fast—because when executives join the dots, they will want it tomorrow.
2. Partnering with project and program managers
Another trend that will continue to build. Gone are the days when project managers and change managers worked in isolation. I hear many inspiring examples of how the two professions are working together to create acceptance and adoption of new technology, business processes, and other changes. Collaboration has replaced competition.
3. Beyond the project
Change management will keep moving beyond projects into programs of work, and become part of program management offices. We will also see the shift to change management offices, or other structures where all major change, projects and business as usual, are located, managed and resourced.
4. Certification and standards
Organisations will recruit only trained and certified change management, with successful track records for change management roles. “People stuff? Anyone can do that!” will never be heard again (I’m hoping anyway!).
We will also witness the disappearance of: “I’m the project manager, so that makes me the change manager too.” We will see more accreditation, standards and formalisation of this new profession and discipline from the Change Management Institute and the Association of Change Management Professionals.
5. Soft skills make a come back
Change management isn’t just about impact assessments, strategies and plans, it’s about skillful facilitation of individuals and group processes. Does that sound too Age of Aquarius for these hard times? We will take a trip through the time tunnel to where change management began, in ‘organisation development’ land, and rediscover the skills of diagnosing, designing and delivering facilitation that helps people make a transition. Change managers will skill up in the soft skills!