🎨The ART of Change Leadership: TrainedSep 12, 2022
In this post, we’re diving into the final phase of Apogy’s ART framework and discussing what training looks like at an individual level.
Why Training Matters
Training is the final component for successful individual change (Apogy refers to it as “Trained” to signify that this action step has been completed).
For many reasons, training is an important and necessary part of organizational change management. First, it equips people with the knowledge and skills to successfully use the new system or follow the new process. It also supports individuals in implementing the behavior changes needed to sustain the new ways of working long-term.
In Apogy's certification program, we teach change leaders the following core concepts related to the Trained stage:
(1) People have received the appropriate level of training.
(2) They possess the required knowledge, skills, and behaviors.
(3) They can do what is required to realize the benefits for changing.
What Happens Without Proper Training?
Training is a critical success factor in the long-term sustainment of change. Change that isn’t sustained isn’t valuable to an organization and wastes time, money, and other resources.
According to GP Strategies, adoption, which includes training to support adoption, is a key trend this year. Julyan Lee wrote, “Going live is a major milestone in the project life cycle and should be celebrated with much fanfare. However, it’s not the barometer for how we should measure project success. If the system is live and nobody is using it, what is its true value? The people responsible for the day-to-day operation of an organization must use and embrace the new technology.”
Another ramification of a lack of proper training includes misinterpreting the inability to perform in the new environment successfully as resistance. It might seem as if the individual is resisting the change and is unwilling to buy in, when instead, the solution may be to provide a variety of training formats and resources to accommodate different learning styles and preferences.
In some cases, your training may be wrong. One client, when investigating why adoption was extremely low (thinking it was resistance), later discovered that the instructions provided to end users did not match the process in the new system. The good news is that once the training was fixed, utilization increased rapidly.
Training must be appropriate for the end user. Depending on how many stakeholder groups are involved in the change and how end users are impacted, this step may require a different training format and approach for each group. A training needs analysis is a useful tool for determining what each stakeholder group needs and how the knowledge should be delivered.
It’s also important to consider the business model, operations, and how technology currently enables the workforce when planning for training. For example, a hospital with clinical staff who work onsite and use technology every day would (obviously) approach training very differently than an oil and gas company, where field workers have limited access to technology aside from their mobile phones or shared laptops that are used primarily for clocking in and out while onsite.
In both situations, the training lead’s best bet is to get feedback from impacted stakeholders on what would make the most sense for training and why and be prepared to get creative. One client I’m working with is considering leveraging YouTube to create quick training tutorials for field workers and embedding “just-in-time training” into the system itself.
In addition to tailoring training to the end user, it’s important to avoid underestimating the training requirements. This step is often the most time-consuming and expensive part of any change management effort, even if the training is created in advance. Plan ahead, and allocate resources to training development efforts accordingly for the highest likelihood of success.
Tips for Training
When it comes to training, change influencers (also known as change agents) make great training partners. Change influencers play a key role in the overall success of the change initiative, which Apogy defines as being when stakeholders accept, adopt, and sustain the change. Their support for the change process and training requirements has a direct impact on their peers and teams, often giving people the motivation to “give it a try.” Change influencers are often subject matter experts and may also be able to help refine training materials and provide feedback on any topics or themes that need further clarification once they are familiarized with them.
Don’t mistake training as an empowering opportunity for all individuals. People are afraid of failure, may experience test-related anxiety, or might fear being perceived as incompetent if they don’t quickly grasp the new information. It’s important for change leaders to acknowledge people’s fears and concerns, and to lead with compassion when they arise.
Training is rarely one-size-fits-all. Consider how you might format training to fit your team’s work structure and environment. Depending on the team, project management framework, and change itself, this will look different. For example, in faster-paced, iterative environments, training delivered in smaller increments might be more appropriate than one big training event that takes people away from their day-to-day workflows.
Wrapping up the ART Framework
Getting Trained is the final stage of Apogy’s ART framework and a significant component of sustainable change for the long term. Before diving into training, ensure individuals are Aware and Ready to change. Remember, learning, understanding, and adopting new skills takes time, and everyone moves at a different pace.
Want to dive deeper into the ART framework and how to apply it to your unique business situation and change? Become an Apogy certified Change Leader!
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