Change management knowledge keeps changing, so it’s important to keep up with the curve.
Research, data, change models, frameworks, and change management tools constantly change. Not only that, technology itself changes every day … and, as we’ll soon see, this drives much of today’s change.
So, on the one hand, staying current helps you keep up with the changing change management curve.
But there are other reasons to stay current:
- Today’s economy is driven by innovation and technology, so modern change management techniques are more important than ever
- The digital workplace requires new modes of thinking and operating, making change management critical to a successful digital workplace
- You’ll gain an edge over other change management professionals
- You will add more value to your business, making your own role more vital to the company’s success
As with any other job skill, it pays to stay current.
But, in today’s economy, change management is being seriously impacted by digital.
For the reasons mentioned above, it’s important to keep your change management knowledge current and updated – so that you will stay relevant and valuable in the years to come.
3 Keys to Keeping Your Change Management Knowledge Up-to-Date
Below, we’ll look at 3 key ways to stay updated and maintain a state-of-the-art skillset.
1. Understand digitalization, digital transformation, and digital adoption.
One of the most important concepts today is digital.
Digital technology is, of course, the concept we’re most familiar with. From the internet to mobile devices, we’ve all seen firsthand the impact of this technology.
However, the impact of digital technology goes deeper than just email or the internet.
It has changed the entire economy, causing disruption and change on massive scales.
A few concepts that the change manager must know include:
Digital Adoption – Digital adoption, the adoption of digital technology in a workplace, causes organizational changes. Even if the change is restricted to new software adoption – which it often isn’t – such deployment often involves extensive training programs, employee onboarding, and ongoing productivity assessments.
Digital Transformation – Digital transformation is the overall transformation of an “old school” business into one that embraces digital technology, digital workflows, a digital workplace, and modern strategies. This type of transformation also causes many of the workplace changes we see today.
Digitalization – Digitalization is another term often used interchangeably with digital transformation or digitization. It also refers to the transformation that occurs when organizations adapt to today’s tech-driven, innovation-driven marketplace.
Digital has changed the way change managers operate, and because it drives so many of today’s transitions, these concepts should form a cornerstone of your change management knowledge.
2. Become innovative and open to new change management ideas.
Innovation, working hand-in-hand with digital technology, has changed how we do business.
Today, the speed of business has vastly accelerated. We can develop products faster, collaborate more quickly, and automate extensively.
The result – new operating models that weren’t available yesterday.
Software development, perhaps the speartip of digital innovation, has opened up new product development methods, such as agile and lean.
Agile software development, for instance, prioritizes customer-centrism and responsiveness.
Likewise, lean thinking aims at developing products in short, fast iterations. These iterations are constantly fueled by customer feedback, helping to make products more useful and relevant.
We are even seeing these same ideas being applied to change management.
Agile change management, for instance, follows agile software development by reducing long-term planning and focusing instead on short- to mid-term planning.
As we move into the next decade, expect to see even more modernized approaches to change management.
Also, watch for the evolution of related disciplines like innovation management.
3. Follow industry leaders.
Though this may seem like a basic recommendation, many change management professionals don’t keep up with the state of the industry.
If you only take one thing away from this article, then this should be it.
Following this advice will, in an of itself, take care of the first two points.
Here are a few ways to follow industry leaders:
- Subscribe to change management blogs, newsletters, and publications
- Learn from today’s change authorities, such as Prosci, the Change Management Institute, academic institutions, and thought leaders
- Keep up with research relevant to change management
And, finally, if you aren’t already, it pays to stay well-versed in the classic change management literature.
Lewin, Kotter, and other established authorities have helped define the entire industry. Knowing them is virtually a prerequisite to becoming a successful organizational change professional.
If you have to pick one or two words to define change management knowledge, then choose innovation or digital.
Or digital innovation.
Regardless of your personal feelings towards digital technology, the fact remains that digital innovation drives change.
Innovation and disruption have become the hallmark of the economy. And, for better or for worse, this has made change management more important than ever.
It has also made it vitally important to keep your change management knowledge as current as possible.