Develop Change Management Competence
Richard Smith, editor of The Effective Change Manager's Handbook which is endorsed by both APMG and the CMI, talks about the latest industry developments and the core body of knowledge required for effective change managers.
From the largest corporations to the smallest third sector, organization change has been ‘in the blood’ of the most successful organizations. Technology, labour markets, customer requirements, efficient structures – all have driven high-performing organizations to initiate changes in order to flourish.
However organizational change management has never been easy. Research over the past 20 years has suggested that a very high proportion of organizational change initiatives fail to meet their objectives – and many of these fail completely. A 70% failure rate is commonly quoted, and while the exact proportion is probably impossible to assess there is little disagreement that it is high.
In response to this challenge a market has developed for change management expertise – for truly effective managers and leaders of organizational change. The subject of change management has been studied and written about, and it has become part of the syllabus of many business schools. Some job advertisements increasingly ask by name for ‘Change Managers’; others simply specify it as a required competence for job applicants in various disciplines.
Experienced business professionals from a range of disciplines have claimed expertise in change management. HR professionals, and particularly those with an Organizational Development orientation, have been prominent in designing and supporting change initiatives. So have those with a strong background in Project and Programme Management – after all, what else is a project or programme about but to deliver change? Many leaders with wide general management experience have also stepped up to provide leadership and management of organizational change.
Until quite recently there was little agreement or clarity about the requirements of a truly effective Change Manager. In 2005 the Change Management Institute (CMI) was formed in Australia – the first global professional association for people who would self-identify as ‘change managers’. It was (and remains) an independent professional association largely run by volunteers. In 2008 the CMI published a competence model based securely on research with its global membership of 600 people across 30 countries. For the first time there was a clear picture of what effective change managers actually DO, and of the competences required for effective job performance. CMI has built a robust professional accreditation scheme based on this model.
In early 2013, after re-validating its competence model twice more (2010 and 2012), CMI sought a business partner who could help them develop a knowledge architecture, a ‘body of knowledge’, which would document the underpinning knowledge required for effective practice as a change manager across a wide range of situations. This ‘change management body of knowledge’ was published in October 2013 under the title ‘The Effective Change Manager’. This book, together with the competence model to which it relates, provides for the first time a secure basis for designing selection and development processes for those involved in organisational change management.
The book was developed in collaboration with the APM Group International (APMG), a leading UK body specialising in accreditation of professionals in a variety of fields. APMG had been running professional change management examinations since 2006, but was acutely aware that there had been no generally-agreed basis as to what should be in the syllabus. The result of the partnership with CMI, and the body of knowledge to which it gave life, means that there is now a strong basis for a change management syllabus and examinations.
With the support and encouragement of our publishers, Kogan Page, and the committed hard work of team of change professionals acting as editors, a new professional text has been written: The Effective Change Manager’s Handbook. This volume, written by a team of authors with specialist interests across the many facets of change management, is designed to teach the areas of knowledge now defined by the CMI’s body of knowledge. But it goes further than that. It not only teaches the full scope of the body of knowledge, but illustrates it and includes many examples of checklists, tools and templates which change managers can use or adapt to help them in facing the challenges of their own work.
From 2015, this new Kogan Page book, The Effective Change Manager’s Handbook, will be the text against which the APMG change management examinations will be set. These examinations cover the knowledge component of the CMI’s accreditation scheme (ACM Foundation), giving successful candidates a secure basis not only for accreditation but also for professional practice as effective change managers.