#HRD11 Presentations on Change

In a series of interesting posts this week, Neil Morrison has been talking on the XpertHR blog about Commercial HR. It’s been a fascinating series and links in with thoughts I had from last week’s #HRD11 conference organised by the CIPD.

Change seems to be the hot topic of the day and I’m keen to learn more about what this looks like. So I sat through 3 different presentations, all discussing change. In this post, I’ll share the learnings from them, and in a later post this week I’ll share my thoughts on what I think is happening.

The first was a talk by Mike Clayton about how to handle resistance to change. He’s written a book on it for the Management Pocketbook series.

He described how he helps groups to understand how to deal with change by using an Onion analogy. If you peel one layer at a time you can start to understand what level of resistance you are facing:
– I don’t understand why we need to change
– I don’t understand why this change
– I don’t like this change
– I don’t like you
– I like to resist

Each of these needs to be dealt with specifically. If one layer doesn’t resolve the resistance, then you need to move on to the next.

He had a nice opening to the session – Respect your resisters.

I then attended a session with Irving Allen who talked about Change Agents.

I honestly found this a difficult session as the exercises they were asking the group to take part in were not suited to the environment we were in. Also the pair of presenters were not practiced enough with each other to deliver the material side by side. As a result I honestly took little away from this session. Except that they said you had to identify in the organisation who were:
– The targets for change
– The Change Agents
– The sponsors of the change
– The Change advocates

The last session was with Naomi Standford. She wasn’t the greatest facilitator I’ve had in a session, but she did help to deliver some very good models (Ha! Refer to earlier post about models) on how to manage change and how to communicate change.

She started by getting the group to discuss our understanding of what is the rate and scope of the change happening. I hadn’t considered this before and it’s a good reflection piece as as a change practitioner you often need to develop this understanding before you can launch into action.

The Change Management model she presented doesn’t seem to have a reference, so I’ll attribute it to Naomi, unless otherwise informed. She described a seven step process we should go through. This is:
– Set Direction
– Design and Plan
– Mobilise
– Deliver
– Transition
– Consolidate
– Improve

This process helps to realise that even though change may have been delivered, there are several important subsequent steps that need to be followed up.
She also presented this Communicating Change model. Again there seem to be no reference so I will attribute to Naomi.

I found this particularly useful as a way to help understand what I need to do to communicate change effectively.

#HRD11 – Conference planning

I’ve been at HRD11 organised by the CIPD for the past two days, and it’s been an interesting event. For me, it provides an opportunity to see what’s happening in the wider L&D world, what the suppliers are saying, and what the ‘practitioners’ are saying. I have some very clear points about the sessions I’ve attended which I’ll be writing about later. But, first I wanted to highlight some thoughts on the ‘Planning’ front. This is true of any conference, and not restricted to #HRD11 in any way.

Free WiFi

This seems so trivial, but so important in the world we’re now in. Yes, there was WiFi available, but either you had to pay for it from the venue, or you had to go to a specific vendor who had free WiFi available. Come on now. You want PR for your event? You want people outside of the venue to know what’s happening? You want people to feel they’re not ‘trapped’ by the conference? This is almost a basic need.

Briefing the Speakers

This is two fold. First is to ensure you’ve briefed the speakers about who is likely to be in the audience. For exhibition and for conference delegates this may well be different, but it is important to get a fair understanding. Some of the exhibition sessions I attended were far too basic for my purpose. This means either my expectations were too high, or my understanding of the session was misrepresented.

Second is to try and cater for different levels of experience in the audience. Not seniority mind, but experience. I’m no senior manager but equally I have a lot of experience across L&D and so expect a high level of engagement and learning. Is it possible to have ‘feather-weights’ sessions, ‘mid-weights’ and ‘heavy-weights’?

The Speakers

1) If you have exhibition speakers, and they’re there to represent your brand, make sure you have someone who presents well. How this is overlooked is beyond me. You’re in a space where you will be speaking to at least 100 people for 45 mins, and you haven’t either practised/prepped/realised you’re pretty shit? There is no harm in getting someone to speak for you. You’re there selling a product, so why not give it a good show? Just because you’re connected to the brand, does not mean you are its best representative.

2) For those of you that do choose to speak, get your language right and know your audience. One presenter made a comment “put your hand up for me, don’t hold it behind your back, you’ll look like a retard”. Erm, sorry? Did you seriously just say that? His follow up comment “you’re not allowed to say that now, oh well”. Hmm. #epicfail. In fairness I think the moment got the better of him and he didn’t think it through, but my word is this just plain wrong.

3) If you’re going to get the 100 attending your 45 min slot to do exercises, make sure they’re easy to do and appropriate for the space you are in. Discussions need to be short, tightly defined, with a clear brief. Leaving it open because you want to ‘see how it goes’ is poorly thought through and you should not be on the stage.

The Style of Presentations

*checks calendar* 8th April 2011. What’s that? We’re no longer restricted to PowerPoint as a delivery format you say? We’ve moved beyond the flipchart? Pull the other one! I didn’t see one Prezi, pecha kucha, or any other style of presentation. And we’re meant to be the leaders of information delivery? And we’re meant to be the ones who know everything there is to know about presentations? Attending the various sessions, you really wouldn’t think so.

The Supplier Stands

Dear Suppliers, please find completely new and different ways to make yourselves more inviting. Not one of you made it compelling for me to visit. And using the Twitter backchannel is not the way to do it. #thatisall

Conference Speakers

So this is going to cause some issues. Particularly because it’s just not the done thing. Why am I restricted to one conference session? You run 3 concurrent sessions from 0930-1100 and I can only attend one? Well what if it’s boring me silly and I want to see what the others are about? Sure, there are things around “oh but they won’t understand the full context of the session”, but do you forget that we are adults and fully capable of filling in the blanks? No? Want to treat us like school children who need ferrying and can only attend to one thing at a time? Oh, ok then.

Break free! Take an #unconference approach. Dare to be different. I guarantee it will be a better experience for your delegates and the richness of information being shared will be amazing. Don’t believe me? How do you know different?

And please conference organisers, do not choose a conference speaker just because they are an expert in their field. Please be sure to vet their ability to run a conference session. I’m paying good money to be present, and want a good facilitator present. It doesn’t matter how many groups they work with on a daily basis, a conference session is different. Expectations are to learn something, and go away brimming with ideas.

In Complete Fairness

I enjoyed the 2 days. The interactive board outside the HRD Interactive Zone was a great addition and a great way to showcase the buzz happening in and around the event.

I loved that the #tweetup was taken seriously and given appropriate time during the day. It gave me a superb opportunity to connect and network with those I know in the online world.

The delegate refreshments is a nice touch and makes me feel like I have a small perk as a delegate.

The free brochure is great and helps me to navigate timings of sessions as well as decide the supplier stands I want to visit.

It was a well organised and from my perspective seemless delivery so well done to all involved. Events on this scale are never easy, and I wish you continued success with them in the future.

A Side Note

This event is for L&Ders in the main right? Did you have an L&Der help you plan it?

>Business 101

>In a range of interactions today I was made aware of the importance of a little something called business acumen. The bread and butter of any successful organisation is to understand what business acumen is all about. I still don’t know if I get it. Not really. I get enough to understand a range of factors associated with it. You know, things like ROI, portfolio of clients, customer identification strategies, marketing, PR, R&D, finance, cash flow, profit and loss, revenue streams, new business pipeline. You do know, don’t you?

And that’s where things start to get interesting. How many of us actually understand all of that jargon I’ve just thrown out there? More importantly, how many of the fresh talent coming into the workforce understand any of those things? We have high expectations for graduates in particular but anyone starting their career in a company. But what are we doing to help them understand everything that’s expected of them? And I don’t mean the work they’re doing, but the important things of running a business.

So how do you do these things? Well a study by the CIPD showed that most learning and development in the workplace happens via information passed on and coaching done by the manager. In the first instance then, you have to know your stuff. You will always be the first port of call for a new recruit. You’re the one with the answers. You’re the one who can explain the meaning of life. The buck starts with you. It doesn’t end there though.

You then need to have in place a process or programme that helps your new recruit gain business insights. Huh? For example, arrange weekly/monthly sesisons where you discuss what’s been happening in the business and why any of that matters. When everyone was being asked to cut back on their spending, were you able to articulate why? When the recession meant redundancies had to be made, were you able to help the team see the business case for this? When Bob took sick leave every Monday consistently for 2 months were you able to discuss the impact of this and give appropriate feedback?

There also needs to be in place a session of sorts delivered by a senior business leader explaining what these things mean to give the business overview. In that session you need to also explain the jargon you use on a daily basis. What’s a TSV? What does cash flow mean? What is a revenue stream? How do we find new business? What does ROI actually mean? And R&D?

Then you’re looking to ensure you keep this activity up. Improve the quality of the conversations so deeper and more significant learning and development takes place. Send them on conferences where they can talk to other people about these things. Send them on an external course to interact with other industry people. Arrange discussions with other business units to help them understand how the business as a whole works.

And when you have all that in place, after about 2 years, they’ll be ready to move on and get promoted. 2 years I hear you scream? Absolutely. If you want your new recruit to be a high flyer, and if you’re serious about their career development you’ll invest 2 years of your own time and efforts to get that person up to scratch. And 2 years is a good target to aim for.

So, are you ready to teach Business 101?