Finding an appropriate Change Leader for your initiative can be a daunting task. Whether you are searching for a full-time resource or you are planning to bring in an external resource, the value your organization derives will be directly associated with the resource’s expertise in leading change.
There are a considerable number of individuals attracted to today’s Organizational Change market. If Change Management has such a high failure rate (70%, 2013 Towers Watson study), then this influx of inexperience may very well be the reason. Change Management requires a rock solid understanding of human and organizational psychology, demands a keen business acumen with an impeccable ability to strategize, plan, and execute a well thought out plan. An effective change practitioner is highly trained and adept at facilitating both personal and organizational transformation. However, if a “change” resource does not understand the basic underpinning concepts that drive both human and organizational transformation, then that individual will not be successful in this role.
What should you look for when you are considering bringing in a Change resource? Seek out a professional who has real time, hands-on experience (at least five to ten years–ten years onward for a senior role). A degree in Organizational Psychology or Organizational Development is a plus. Organizational Change Management (OCM) certification has become popular these days however there is no guarantee that an OCM certified individual is capable (certification ≠ competency). In fact, most accrediting institutions will include this disclaimer.
Companies often request an OCM candidate to submit a business case; however, these business cases are more appropriate for project managers. One example of a question that is relevant to OCM is “what are the critical actions that must precede the execution of a change plan?” The right candidate will be able to discuss a roll-out strategy and a supporting infrastructure (“change” networks, leadership and stakeholder alignment, “change” roadmaps, etc.) and provide experiential examples relating to a former successful “change” engagement.