Becoming a change management professional is not a one-size-fits-all approach by any means, but here’s a taste of what you may need and want to know before and during your journey as a practitioner.
The change management profession is currently ramping up its formalizing activities. And with this process comes questions of what education, training, and certification is required to become a practitioner. Have you ever found yourself asking, “If I love what I do, what steps do I need to take to ensure that I still will be able to do it?”
This question becomes that much more compelling if you’re considering the change management profession (which I highly recommend you do). Here are some considerations to keep in mind as you move forward in the profession.
How do I even get started in change management?
First, you need to be clear on the role you want to play in the profession. Do you want to be an internal or external consultant, change program manager, group facilitator, or even a leadership coach? There are many other roles and many levels within each of these roles.
Second, it’s imperative that you know what competencies are required by, and valued in, the profession to perform effectively in your chosen (and specific) change role.
What does it take to be a valued change management practitioner these days?
Any profession requires specific competencies, which is basically the first watershed for entering a profession. For these purposes, competency is defined as, “A combination of observable and measurable knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal attributes that contribute to enhanced employee performance and ultimately result in organizational success.”
I find this definition of competency most appealing because of its simplicity, but also because it encompasses “personal attributes” (things like curiosity, resilience, flexibility, enthusiasm) that are key for change managers.
What about competency models?
Knowing the comprehensive set of competencies for your profession is critical. A “Competency Model” maps all of these skills into a single visual and/or verbal framework. There are a number of competency models searchable on the Web. More sophisticated competency models will differentiate between entry-level competencies and those competencies required for individuals who have significant experience in the field.
What role does experience play?
In the change management profession, experience really matters. People of all shapes, sizes, and cultures form the basis of change management efforts. Given our human vagaries, only experience with actual change initiatives can give you situational knowledge and skills that you can apply to future change work–how to encourage leaders, recognize resistance, assess culture, and map out an appropriately-scaled plan for the organization and its initiative, among a host of other challenges.
Having that experience benefits current practitioners by moving them closer to credentialing requirements. Gaining as much experience as possible is essential for individuals wanting to join the profession.
There you have it. Becoming a change management professional is not a one-size-fits-all approach by any means, but here’s a taste of what you may need and want to know before and during your journey as a practitioner. Effective change management professionals have a unique set of competencies garnered through education or training and experience.
There are many practitioners out there who are willing to help you outline a development plan in order to join or move up in the profession. The change management discipline is moving forward rapidly and you are welcome to come along for the ride.
Share your advice and tips for becoming a change management practitioner on the Change Management Review Facebook page. Or, if you’re considering becoming a change management professional, feel free to ask questions or share your challenges here.
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