Raising The Standard - Part 1

Being a member of the Standards Working Group was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. How often does one get the chance to be involved in the development of a global standard? It was a great way to give back to the profession, and it also gave me greater insight into the depth and breadth of change management across industries, disciplines and cultures. ~ Risto Gladden

In 2012, the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) issued a serious challenge to itself! ACMP set out to:

  • Pull together years of wisdom in the art and science of Change Management (CM) into a single document describing 'the right approach;'

  • Package it so it can be applied by practitioners globally, regardless of context or culture; and,

  • Establish it as the foundation for a global credential: the Certified Change Management Professional™ (CCMP™).

If they could reach that goal, it would be an incredible accomplishment! But how does a relatively new association go about accomplishing that? Well, it's quite a story...

In 2012 when ACMP kicked off the initiative to develop a clear set of guidelines for the practice of change management, there were many other documents available…why do something new? ACMP wanted to capture the collective wisdom of practitioners throughout the world who had been successfully guiding people and organizations through change. They did so within a set of rigorous guidelines established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to ensure the final work would be completely credible and not overly influenced by any one source.

That's a lot of work!

Indeed! Being a non-profit association, ACMP asked for volunteers to carry out this intensive task. Many answered the call. The Standards Working Group (SWG) included representation from:

  • Seven countries

  • Diverse industries: Financial Services, Management Consulting, Manufacturing, Oil & Gas, Technology, etc.

  • Diverse domains: Organization Development, Human Resources, Project Management, Training, Communications

This core team of volunteers took on the task of reviewing every major methodology available to set out a broad framework of common change practices.

It was a lot of writing. A lot of debate. A lot of coffee. Tiring for sure, but we kept our eyes on the goal as we devoted countless hours to reach this major milestone. It was an incredibly HIGH level of commitment by each and every person.

An amazing piece of work considering much of the collaboration was done virtually!

The Development Process

To drive the work forward, focused sessions were held throughout the process. In December of 2013, the team worked through a nine hour online marathon using GoToMeeting. If you thought it was hard to stay focused on a remote team call for an hour during the day, consider that because of the global composition of SWG, some people were on the call through the night!

Working online

Then what happened??

The team shared the framework with the change management community for input. And input they got!

We received more than 3500 comments from over 1100 people originating in 57 countries. And you know what? Every one of them received a response from our team!

To accomplish that level of responsiveness, a third intensive session was held over a weekend in Orlando in March 2014. Over two days the SWG reviewed and agreed on the action to be taken on every comment submitted by those who reviewed The Standard for Change Management©.

Between major sessions, sub-groups met weekly to collaborate virtually to develop, review, and refine content. Consensus often only came after spirited debate!

It was both fascinating and rewarding to be able to see change management through the various prisms of background, experience and culture.

Stay tuned for the Exciting Conclusion of the Story!


Credits: Heroes of the Standard

ACMP recognizes the efforts of many volunteers and individuals who contributed, debated, and refined The Standard for Change Management... 

ACMP Board Liaison: Rick Rothermel

SWG Chair: Sumreen Ahmad

SWG Vice-Chair: D. Scott Ross

SWG Technical Editor: Austin Kirkbride

SWG Associate Technical Editor: Debra Noyes

 SWG Subgroup Leaders:

Terms and Definitions Group: Karen Barnett

Evaluating Change Impact and Organizational Readiness Group: Bill Mullins

Formulating Change Management Strategy Group: Theresa Moulton

Developing Change Management Plans Group: Andrea Grossman

Executing Change Management Plans Group: Mark Bolton

Complete the Change Management Effort Group: Debra Noyes

SWG Members:

April Callis

Marisue Fasick

Deep Ghatak

Risto Gladden

Karin Hazelkorn

Craig Mills 

Erika Moore  

Deborah Lynn Morrison

Jason Papadopoulos

Tosha Perkins

Terri Ray

Kirk Luckwald Sievert

Margaret Thompson

Greg Voeller

Standards Project Consultants:

The Communicators, Inc.

Georgia Patrick, President

Anna Rubin, Vice President

Dr. Rory E. McCorkle, Technical Process Leader

Dr. Manfred Straehle, Technical Process Leader

Alexandra Kassidis, Research Associate

ACMP Standards Support Team:

Linn J. Wheeling, Executive Director

Stephen Cinq-Mars, Project Director