Reflections from Change Management 2014

By Bill Wilder, M.Ed., Life Cycle Engineering

Why should I invest in change management? Where should change management reside? How can we be more effective sponsor coaches?

Many sought answers to these questions at the Change Management 2014 conference March 30-April 2 in Orlando, Fl.

It seemed to me that nearly two-thirds of the more than 800 attendees at this year’s conference were new to change management and all seemed interested in these topics. I encountered several newly formed operational excellence or business improvement groups formed by teaming together people from lean, learning, organizational development, and project management. These were typically groups established by the C-suite to focus on improving the probability of success on the “big” changes. Many of these folks were first timers at the conference and eager to integrate the structured process and discipline of change management.

Sponsorship remains a challenge and one that many of the presentations addressed. Most of this we have heard before; Prosci’s ABC’s, storytelling…. Ultimately what I hear is, be fortunate enough to have an enlightened sponsor or engage an effective executive coach.

Some organizations who have been investing in change management are asking what the return is on that investment. Several have made choices to eliminate centralized change management groups! Why? Perhaps it is a natural and logical progression to considering change management a required competency for all managers, or maybe an attempt to answer the ROI question.

Speaking of the perennially popular ROI topic; we should consider adopting some of the ideas from the learning. Consider the four levels Kirkpatrick introduced, Phillips 5th level of ROI or even Brinkerhoff’s success case method. All of these approaches have potential for defining how we demonstrate the value. After all, what change management methodology doesn’t include training?

I’ll be back with some more observations next month. Meanwhile, check out this presentation on measuring change ROI by Jeff Nevenhoven.


Bill Wilder, M.Ed is the founder and director of the Life Cycle Institute, the learning, leadership and change management practice at Life Cycle Engineering. The Institute integrates the science of learning and the science of change management to help organizations produce results through behavior change. You can reach Bill at [email protected].

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