Dispatch from the 2017 Association of Change Management Professionals Conference

ACMP 2017 Conference LogoMy first time in New Orleans didn’t disappoint! The annual conference of the Association of Change Management Professionals was lively, friendly, and fun. Didn’t attend? Scroll down for my take on what was new and hot at the 2017 conference. Prefer visuals to text? See the Visual Dispatch at the bottom of the page.

What’s Hot: Using Neuroscience for Change Management

Using findings from neuroscience to help guide change is still hot. Speaker Josh Davis of the NeuroLeadership Institute spoke to a jam-packed room about how our brains respond to threats. Change management professionals can minimize those threats with a little education and foresight.

We love how neuroscience brings a valuable and previously examined approach to our field. Check out our one pager to learn about how to use neuroscience to anticipate and mitigate resistance to change.

What’s Needed: Managing Executives During Change

How do you handle a CEO who loves to say no? Who doesn’t walk the talk? Dean Anderson of Being First had some great tips, which he shared to a standing-room only crowd. We’re on board with his strategies for managing executives, including:

  1. Ask questions that educate.
  2. Do a risk assessment.
  3. Perform an impact analysis.
  4. Create a partnership with project management.
  5. Reduce felt pain.
  6. Take a stand, but speak lightly.
  7. Promote change leader modeling.
  8. Make leaders aware of success-limiting mindsets.

What’s Deep: Connecting to Our Greater Purpose

Why do we do the work we do? Lisa McLeod, in her keynote talk on Leading with Noble Purpose, reminded us of the importance of having a clear and compelling purpose. When companies get over-attached to their model, like Blockbuster, they go down in flames, unable to accept that the world has changed. Becoming over-attached to profit has equally dangerous effects, as seen by Volkswagen and Wells Fargo. Instead, McLeod said, emulate meaning-based companies like Blackbaud and G Adventures.

For a practical example of how powerful purpose can be, stop asking people what they do. Instead, ask: “How do you make a difference for people at work?” Observe the difference in people’s answers when you ask about making a difference. We saw people talking with more engagement and enthusiasm.

What’s Unexpected: Meditation as a Change Management Tool

It’s no surprise that change management can be hard. As a practitioner, it can be difficult to maintain your equilibrium amidst the emotions stirred up by change. Wendy Quan of the Calm Monkey led a session on using meditation as a change management tool. The best part: we meditated together for about 10 minutes. I left feeling centered, refreshed, and ready for the rest of the conference.

What’s New: Using Networks in Change Management

I almost forgot to mention my session! I was delighted by the enthusiasm and thoughtful questions posed during “The Next Frontier in Change Management: Using Network Analysis to Find Influencers, Populate Change Teams, and Create Social Systems that Support Change.” We focused on how thoughtful use of Critical Connectors can help populate teams, build social support, and integrate respected change advocates into the organization.

The Visual Dispatch

For those of you who prefer visuals to text, check out my visual dispatch below.

 ACMP Change Management Dispatch 1


ACMP Change Management Dispatch 2







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