Recharge: Why Change Stalls and What You Can Do About It

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Jevon K. Powell, an organizational psychologist specializing in change management, presented this session on managing large-scale change.  Powell was introduced by Madeline Cohen, who is the Director of the U.S. Courts 10th Circuit Library. 

Powell discussed what can be done to help insure a change initiative succeeds.  He stressed that employee involvement in teh process is crucial, though the involvement should be carefully structured. He also discussed reasons why change can frequently stall in organizations, including change fatigue, poor communication and planning for change, and fear of the unknown.  Powell described the common stall points that arise during change initiatives, and offered useful levers for moving the initiative past the road blocks.  He also stressed the importance of having metrics that can measure the effectiveness of the change initiative.

Powell's primary argument was that change advocates must adopt a conceptual model, or "change road map," for implementing change management systematically, in order to overcome these obstacles.  He briefly described the different models that have been developed, then focused in depth on the Head-Heart-Hands model developed by Gibson and Billings.  This is the model that he relies on in his consulting work with organizations undergoing large-scale change.  This model employs a grid, centered around thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, to insure that an organization addresses all aspects of a change initiative.  The grid allows the change leader to identify every action necessary, so that no crucial aspects of change management are missed.  This struck me as a very commonsense approach, and one that would help the change leader to make sure they focus on each of these areas in managing a new project or initiative.

Powell's provided several useful handouts, the most effective of which showed a detailed view of the Head-Heart-Hands model.  Powell was very effective at using humor to maintain interest throughout the session.  He also encouraged questions and feedback from the audience, and had the audience walk through several exercises during the program.  These efforts kept the audience engaged througout the 90 minute session.

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