Is Change Management just comms and training? Battling the myth

comms and training

Nothing makes change managers’ blood boil like the misapprehension that change management is nothing more than coordinating the comms and training that supports project delivery.

But why do so many leaders and organizational stakeholders make this assumption? And how can change managers create a better understanding of their vital role?

Sometimes we forget that although managing change is something that has been a necessity since the advent of workplaces, as a formal discipline, organizational change management is a relatively new field.

Our experience is that there are two main reasons for a lack of understanding of the full nature of the discipline of organizational change management.

Firstly, comms and training are highly visible activities and may be the only manifestations of the work change managers do that they encounter.

Secondly, because change managers are doing their jobs so well that there aren’t the typical signs of resistance and discord.

What gets seen gets credit

Just like “what gets measured gets managed”, those activities with public visibility in organizations are often credited as being the drivers of success.

In reality, the communications activities and training interventions that change managers create, coordinate, and evaluate are just the tip of the iceberg; the visible results of

  • understanding the nature of the project; its vision, approach, and benefits
  • spending many hours interviewing key stakeholders and end users
  • assessing and organizing the severity of the multitude of impacts on audience groups
  • working to understand any project change risks and coordinating with the project team
  • considering the key messages that need to be delivered to the right audiences
  • developing the right mix of change management interventions that support audience groups through changes and mitigate change risks (comprising of, yes, comms, training, as well as other engagement activities)
  • considering whether activities or impacts from neighbouring projects have the potential to collide with this project (something that ChangePlan makes super simple) and adjusting the plan to accommodate
  • overseeing the delivery of the change activities
  • Constantly monitoring stakeholder readiness and adoption levels and adjusting the activity mix as it is underway based on audience feedback to ensure go-live is smooth

Tips for change managers

Use your change elevator pitch often

Act as an ambassador for the processes involved with organizational change management.

Amidst conversations with leaders, sponsors, and key stakeholders, remind them of the role of change managers with a subtle two-sentence elevator pitch about how change management works and helps project delivery. “As you know, as a change manager, my job is to ensure…”

Make your comms impeccable

A quick scroll through the messages in your inbox will quickly highlight how many people are terrible at communicating.

Long, wordy emails without a call to action.

Waffling reports without structure, with different font styles and sizes thrown in too for good measure. A change manager would never send an email like that!

So when you communicate as a change manager, differentiate yourself by making sure your comms are tight, pithy, and extremely clear.

Toot your own horn

As a change professional, you’ll often encounter work done by non-change practitioners, such as training webinars or videos fronted by subject matter experts, business managers, or others. You’ll notice that these are often delivered in a clumsy manner, are too lengthy, and have poor structuring.

Who wants to sit through a video of a subject matter expert droning on for 15 minutes about something that could have been delivered in a 30-second microlearning clip, or supplied as a one-page cheat sheet.

In fact, think about any recent training webinars or videos you’ve seen. It’s likely a change professional would have been able to markedly improve on these. Right?

Point out how these poor delivery examples to leaders, sponsors, and key stakeholders. Explain clearly how and why these create poorer outcomes. Use these as opportunities to educate why the communications that change managers coordinate are categorically similar but very different qualitatively.

Metrics Metrics Metrics

Leaders love the numbers

Providing clear, visible metrics that explain the effectiveness of your work is the best way to elevate understanding of the role of the Change Manager.

Demonstrate your communications and training are providing real value and making a difference. Whether it’s via regular audience pulse checks, detailed focus groups, stats on video views, or page visits, find ways to get evidence to support your comms and training are effective.

Read our previous article on pulling insights from data for further examples.

Our platform ChangePlan automatically gathers and generates reporting on metrics including:

  • stakeholder readiness
  • potential audience saturation and change collision points
  • the awareness of audiences
  • the effectiveness of your messaging
  • how successful training has been & what percentage of scheduled training has occurred
  • which members of your delivery team are most engaged
  • and much more..

Dashboards show these metrics in a way that is leader-friendly and can even be embedded into your leaders’ existing dashboards.

We’d be delighted to offer you a view of the art of the possible via a demonstration of ChangePlan. Click here to schedule your meeting now.

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