What attributes should you be looking for when hiring a change practitioner?

By Chad Albanese

When organizations look to hire someone to lead the people side of their change initiatives they usually have a set of criteria or attributes that they deem desirable. Identifying the top attributes of a great change management practitioner is a critical step in mitigating the risks associated with your project or initiative. You will often hear terms like analytical skills, emotional intelligence, detail oriented and adaptability mentioned during these discussions. While those may be desirable attributes, are they skills or competencies that actually get results?

The research shows that the number one attribute is change management experience, regardless of whether it is an internal candidate or an external consultant brought in to lead the change.   There is no substitute for having “been there before” and great practitioners have experience deploying change management from beginning to end. They understand change theory and methodologies; they know how to apply a variety of tools and how to integrate change management activities into the project plan. Most importantly is that great practitioners have a track record of achieving results and that previous success is something they can effectively leverage in any change scenario.

Experience is foremost but when that is coupled with effective communication skills and the ability to build relationships you have a true change management professional. Competency in both written and oral communication, along with the ability to actively listen and elicit responses, allows the great practitioner to be empathetic and manage conflict. They are able to clearly articulate the change message to a variety of groups and be influential, with or without authority. The combination of subject matter expertise, communication competency and interpersonal skills allow them to work comfortably across the organization, from front-line employees to the C-suite. 

Truly great change management practitioners understand the success factors necessary to deliver results and impact the organization. Now all you need to do is find them!

To see a sample job description visit: http://www.change-management.com/tutorial-job-roles-mod1.htm


Whether it is introducing new processes or guiding cultural change within an organization, Chad structures and leads change management initiatives to achieve maximum benefit for the business and the end-user. A Prosci Certified Change Management Professional as well as a founding member of the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP), Chad focuses on relationship building, developing trust and transparency with his clients while aligning their needs with the appropriate learning tools for maximized, sustained outcomes. Chad has had the pleasure of leading engagements with an array of clients including Sanofi, Time Warner, The Hartford, Capital One, Best Buy, Nationwide, Mutual of Omaha, Dow Jones, Alcon, and Eaton to develop learning solutions that engage people and drive accountability for behavior changes that deliver results. You can reach Chad at [email protected].

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