Successful Change Requires Specific KSAs


Most leaders and managers got to where they are on technical merit and a record of dependably getting the job done. Most do not have training or experience in management at all, even more rarely in systems-level change. Successful organizational change requires an explicit set of knowledge, skills and attitudes that are not at all related to the usual workplace demands. Those KSAs are required for everyone involved, from the boss to the part-timers and contract staff.

These KSAs are not easily learned by reading about them, although that is a good place to start orientating already motivated learners. Skills require practice under supervision with ample opportunity for feedback, reflection and re-tries. Required attitude adjustments need human interaction to identify and resolve, usually in context.

Any organized approach to investment in relevant skills development should begin with the leadership. Unless the leaders' organizational change KSAs are in place and acted upon, the likelihood of successfully engaging others is minimal.

Additional costs will be incurred to identify, train and replace staff pulled from service and sent on courses or site visits to learn improvement skills. Communicating that newly acquired knowledge back to the work team and implementing the new change skills will require further on-site investments.

There are a number of very expensive change management training packages that can be purchased from large commercial firms. All will offer centralized training programs but some will bring the programs to your work site usually staffed by their junior personnel. There are some advantages to this approach: the big firms have name recognition that, relevant or not, deserved or not, may have some power to convince over-stretched funders and busy participants. Many of these programs have invented badges or designations that participants like to collect as signifying at least exposure to a standardized training program. A number of the programs offer further training, for additional fees, to support and continue development. There are, however, significant downsides to these commercial programs: they are imported from outside your organization; they are not modified much to suit any of your strengths or weaknesses and they cost a lot.

There is another alternative. Find an experienced change management consultant who will focus on your situation and your people and commit to a sufficient time frame to allow personalized coaching and problem solving. Embed that person in your change team and look for rapid transference of KSAs from the consultant to the team. Before you know it, the team will take over the change work with only the occasional consult to maintain momentum and access novel problems.

You get the change management KSAs to all your people tailored specifically to your work place and you transfer the momentum to your change team with easily accessed follow up support. Win/ Win and way cheaper!

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