I recently participated in a Change Management workshop run by ExperiencePoint (http://www.experiencepoint.com/), a firm based in Toronto that uses interactive simulations to take people through a virtual organization in order to convey, by seeing the consequences of change management decisions and actions, core principles of managing change and how to think about the tactics and approaches that can improve the odds of success.
The simulation allows teams to interview stakeholders, create a change plan that has time and budget implications, as well as make decisions not only on actions, but their sequence. I found the simulation software very realistic and, perhaps most importantly, totally free of glitches and bugs that sometimes plague other applications, hence both distracting the participants from the real purpose of such workshops and draining energy in fixing program problems rather than working the case study.
Change management is an area where all kinds of people can and do claim expert knowledge and to have a better mousetrap in terms of a change process and theory of change. I am not an expert in change management and am totally agnostic when it comes to schools of thought. Rather, I am someone who often must find practical ways to make change happen and any approach, concept or tool that is useful in a given situation, I’ll gladly use it. The ExperiencePoint session did offer a change model and I found it robust and practical. More importantly, they did not create an overly complicated change model, nor try to bludgeon the participants with the cleverness of their approach or try to impress and awe us with a litany of research data or their academic credentials. Rather, the theory portion of the workshop was quite brief and delivered in a tone that was understated and observational, rather than directive and authoritative.
For individuals wanting to learn or refresh their change management fundamental skills, or for groups that would benefit from a safe and neutral arena to experience change issues that can help them deal with their real change issues back at the office, I highly recommend this 1 day workshop. I hasten to add, that in many ways this workshop is perhaps most useful for performance improvement professionals who have (or think they have) done a lot of change management work already. I say this because it is that group that can so often get into bad habits or to forget some basic fundamentals because their change experience has used certain “muscles” in certain contexts and not across enough of a range of situations to keep the muscles flexible.