I have never been surrounded by so many people excited by change!
I had the great opportunity to attend the first Change Management Institute conference in Sydney on the 12th and 13th of August. There were approximately 120-140 people who attended which made for a nice intimate group and there was the opportunity to mingle with presenters and other change professionals.
The two days flew by in a back to back whirlwind of presentations and workshops plus great food and company!
Day 1: We have lift off!
It was exciting for the CMI to be kicking off the conference after 5 years of first forming this amazing group. It has been a busy time for them recently expanding into the UK and getting much interest from South Africa, New Zealand and other international countries. It is exciting to be part of a group which is leading the way for the profession of change management.
The keynote speech by Josephine Thomson was interesting and important to the arena of change. She spoke about neuroscience and change and how critical it is that we take how the brain works into account in our change practice. Josephine works alongside David Rock who has written many articles and books on the brain and change. Priceless information. I have read a couple of David’s articles (which I was very excited about) and I am about to read his book ‘Your Brain at Work’.
The Change Management Accreditation was also officially launched with the first 5 accredited professionals being recognised at the conference. These individuals are now recognised as Certified Change Management Practitioners.
The next five hours were back to back presentations. I must admit that it was difficult to have a break as there was 15 minutes between each session and no stopping for lunch. This was not good for the brain! I managed to get through the day without eating anything as there was simply not enough time.
The session which stood out on day one was Criteria for Selecting Change Frameworks and Implementation Techniques by Bill Synnot.
Criteria for Selecting Change Frameworks and Implementation Techniques: Bill Synnot
Bill’s session was awesome and was very much in line with my current thinking. He spoke about the plethora of change frameworks out there and how generally they fall into two extremes – either too general or too specific.
In my opinion, we as change managers definitely require some effective tools to help us with the change process but they are not the be all and end all – what really matters is how you interpret and implement the information that is generated by tools which are used. What matters is your ability to take the theory and really put it into practice in your own unique way. Make it your own.
I purchased his book, The Toolbox for Change – a practical approach, which you can purchase here. The book outlines many tools already used in change both in the workplace and in our personal lives and a brief guide on how to use them. This is great as it will save time and money in searching around or attending courses on how to use these tools!
Favourite quote for the day: “C.A.V.E. : Citizens Against Virtually Everything” – I am sure that we can all think of a C.A.V.E. man or C.A.V.E. woman who we have met in a change project.
Day 2: No rest for the wicked!
The fast and frenetic pace continued on the second day. Today I attended all but one workshop and the standout sessions were:
- Managing Upwards: A values based approach to driving change by Paul Jenkinson
- Coaching for Change Workshop by Michael Hollingworth
Managing Upwards: A values based approach to driving change
I loved this session! To be honest by the title I thought that it would be focusing on how to manage upwards but I was pleasantly surprised when Paul started to talk about his values and why they are important to the change process. The focus was on mindfulness and professional integrity – topics close to my heart, and it was great to hear from a guy who was actively putting these values into practice in his work.
It was inspiring and challenged me to actually put down on paper my values and aims to actively illustrate my professional integrity in my day to day work.
Coaching for Change Workshop
The coaching role is becoming more and more critical in my work as a change manager. Coaching for me is not necessarily a formal session but forms part of the everyday conversations we have with those around us. This session was a highly interactive session and allowed me to find out more about questioning techniques which in turn gather information and support individuals simultaneously. Powerful session.
All in all the conference was good. A lot of it was consolidation of my knowledge and providing me with information of where to find out more. I bought a few books, took copious notes and met some great people – all of which contributes to valuable learning! Over the next couple of weeks I will be burying my nose into books and chewing through resources provided at the conference.
Top takeaways from the conference:
- Tools and methodologies that you choose are important but not the be all and end all of change – what really matters is how you ‘put the rubber on the road’.
- We need to be listening and applying the research and practice of neuroscience regarding the brain and change.
- We can use the CMI Practitioner competencies to focus on our professional development. We can all attend numerous training courses to learn models and methodologies but it is all for nought if we cannot back it up with appropriate professional behaviours.
- Read more and meet more people. There are so many practitioners in Australia doing brilliant work and they are worth meeting! Read their books and touch base with them – they are excited to meet you and help you. We are not alone!
I am looking forward to the 2011 CMI Conference! I would love to have your company next year…