Tim Talks: Why Consider a Career in Change Management?
Written by Eva Cook
Updated: December 11, 2023
Published: February 26, 2020
Tim Talks is an ongoing series of short videos featuring conversations between Tim Creasey, our Chief Innovation Officer, and the people of Prosci. Whether you're a senior leader sponsoring the effort to build enterprise change capability or a practitioner deploying change at the project level, you will find something helpful in these videos: context for the ADKAR Model and Prosci Methodology, trends in change management, answers to your FAQs, and other topics that matter to leaders of change like you.
Becoming a Change Management Practitioner
Change management is a growing profession. The number of organizations creating change practitioner roles increases daily, and a more developed career path is emerging for advanced practitioners and others who develop a deeper skillset in change management. Despite this good news, demand is not the only reason to consider the career, and perhaps not the best. Recently, I sat down with Tim to get his thoughts on the matter.
Exploring what's next in your career?
Our 14-page Change Management Practitioner Career Guide is a great place to start.
Tim, why should someone consider a career in change management?
A career in change management is going to be fulfilling for a couple of reasons. One, it's certainly an in-demand profession. We're seeing an increasing number of organizations creating these job roles. Every day, I learn about organizations we work with trying to hire more change practitioners to support the demand and capacity they have. The market is growing. The number of organizations that are creating these positions is growing. We're seeing more sophisticated career paths emerging. So, it's certainly a growing profession with growing demand.
I also think it's just meaningful and fulfilling work. It's helping people be successful in the challenges they're facing in their organizations. I think people are looking for purpose in their work. And to help somebody through a challenge they are going to experience—whether that's using a new software application, embracing new values, or making a physical move of an office structure—helping people through challenges at work helps them have a better life.
Prosci Best Practices in Change Management research has shown a growing demand for change practitioners, especially as an organization recognizes the need to formalize change management as a skill or competency within the business. For a newcomer to this field, what are the top capabilities you recommend they develop?
For new practitioners coming to this space, certainly, there's content understanding around change management. There's an understanding of human dynamics, how human beings experience change in the world around us. And I think new practitioners definitely need to have business acumen and an understanding of just how projects get initiated and run in organizations.
In the change community, we'll sometimes say, "Oh, the project managers don't understand us." But I think we, and especially a newcomer to the change field, need to understand the project side of the world too, so we can really create that partnership, bringing the technical and people sides together.
Eva Cook is a Program Advisor at Prosci
What different backgrounds do people come from when they move into change management?
One of my favorite things about change management is the incredibly diverse backgrounds people come from. I often talk about my experience facilitating a World Café exercise at the 2009 Prosci Global Conference. This is the very first conference that preceded the ACMP (Association of Change Management Professionals) and the ACMP Conference. And in this World Café, at the end of those three days together, we talked about what the association might look like. What it could be? What would it need to do? What would the governance look like? And we'd had this huge World Café, 175 people, the very first get-together of change practitioners.
I talked about sitting at the table with an I-O (Industrial-Organizational) psychologist from government. There's a project manager from a computer software company. There's a trainer, you know, an HR professional from a manufacturer. Every industry is represented and you have folks coming from project backgrounds, process backgrounds, talent, HR, OD, engineers.
What's interesting is what has drawn the change management folks together is this connection to human beings and people. And so, whether you are an engineer by training, or a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, or a process person, or a project manager, or a portfolio manager, if that human side of the business is something you are intrigued by, you end up getting drawn to this change management discipline. You get this wonderful walk of life in terms of professional background or industrial background, but also a unifying dedication to people, which is exciting.
Change Management is Meaningful Work
In the end, change management is simply the right way to treat people during times of change. Yes, organizations everywhere are implementing a tremendous amount of change, which creates greater demand for certified change practitioners in the marketplace. But helping people succeed through the challenges they face with change is an altruistic opportunity. It helps both the people experiencing the change and gives change practitioners purpose—which isn't always possible in a professional setting.
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