Change Management – It’s Come a Long Way Baby!


Do you only focus on the mountians ahead or have you stopped to look backwards?

I participated on in a Change Management Quarterly Networking meeting at my client site today.  Yes, they have formal quarterly CM meetings.  They have also formally adopted a change methodology and are rolling it out across multiple levels of their organization.

As I was listening to the speakers talk about their methodology, raising awareness in their target groups, the importance of communication, as well as the needs of various stakeholder groups I thought, wow, how far we have come.

I started formally working in the Change Management arena in 1989.  I was hired into a group within Andersen Consulting (who went on to become the Accenture half of Andersen, not the other, now defunct organization) known as Change Management Services or CMS for short.  In fact, I worked on part of our Change Management methodology back in the early 90’s.  At that time we broke change into three major areas, each with their own unique methodology:  Knowledge Transfer, Organizational Change, and Technology Adoption.

I remember the biggest challenge back then was educating clients about what this “new” concept of Change Management was.  Yes, client education still exists, but you typically no longer feel like you are completely talking a foreign language.  You might have to explain that no, it’s not the same as Change Controls, but nothing in life is perfect.

Yes, I do realize that many of the CM concepts have been in existence for longer than the late 80s, but it seems like the “movement” of formalizing around this concept of Change Management and making it more broadly acceptable really started in then.  Today I observe individuals arguing more about the nuances of it than about the need for it.

I was thinking today that we really do need to give credit to Prosci, their ADKAR methodology, and their work to create a Change Management conference.  While I know that not everyone agrees with their approach (I’ve observed some fairly rabid conversations on this topic), you must give them credit for helping to standardize concepts and mainstream terminology.

I also give significant credit to Daryl Conner and his organization, Conner Partners.  I remember when his book Managing at the Speed of Change came out.  It impacted Andersen Consulting/Accenture’s change methodology in numerous ways.  Daryl has done some great research.  He’s also been doing a great job of sharing information through his blog, Change Thinking

So what’s the purpose of this blog?  It’s simply a reminder to stop and appreciate how far we have come.  Sometimes what we need to accomplish to help our clients seems like a huge challenge.  Rather than focusing on how far we still feel like we need to roll that boulder up the hill, take a pause, breath, look back and see how far you have already come.  We really have come a long way baby.

Categories : Change Management


  1. We’ve come even farther than you note above. The Association of Change Management Professionals now has about 780 members in 40 countries, took over the conference business for CM from Prosci, and held its inaugural conference in Orlando this past May. Kotter, Conner, and Thad Allen were keynotes, with about 700 participants. Next Global Conference is in Las Vegas in April 2012, and I just returned from an excellent ACMP Europe conference in Copenhagen. We (ACMP) are putting on another in South Africa this month and planning for one in Dubai in February. Lots of activity toward standards, certification, networking, and developing the discipline and the profesionals in it. Daryl is our honorary “chief inspioration officer.”

  2. Faith Fuqua-Purvis says:

    Hi Stephen – I am well aware of the ACMP and was just reading about some of the upcoming events. In fact, I actually have a screen up right now as I need to sign up for the next US conference! I was scheduled to attend the last one but unfortunately client commitments forced me to cancel.

    I do believe that the ACMP is a great step forward. Candidly, my key concern with it is to ensure that it is broad and deep enough and not driven by one particular organizations agenda. This concern stems from knowing it’s roots, not from what I have observed yet. It’s a “watch point” for me. Only time will tell. Time, and the energy and interest of our practitioners.

    All forward steps are good. Thanks for taking the time to point out this conference. You might just have given me inspiration for the next blog!

    Agree that Daryl provides great inspiration.

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