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September 2009
Training: Engaging Stakeholders and Managing Change
By T.J. Eberle

Successful organizational change relies on a unique blend of program and project management, mixed with stakeholder management, communications, process excellence and training. While the quantities of these ingredients will vary based on the needs and goals of your organization, these activities form the building blocks of a healthy change initiative to ensure proper alignment of people, process and technology. A comprehensive training strategy serves as a unifying force allowing organizations to grow, leverage and sustain organizational change.

     The successful alignment of people, process and technology requires a targeted training strategy designed to ensure employees develop or acquire the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to implement the desired changes.

     Muhammad Ali was once quoted as saying, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” Ali knew a customized, disciplined training regimen was a necessary action required for success in the ring. Most employees acknowledge training provides some value, but often they lack the time, budget or motivation to take full advantage of the benefits of training. How do you get employees to view training as their key to success, instead of a burden?

The following are tips to building and implementing a successful change-oriented training program:

     1. Gain a clear understanding of training requirements as early as possible:

     • Conduct a training needs assessment, involving diverse stakeholder groups

     • Create a training strategy which highlights desired outcomes, success criteria, and robust measurement system

     2. Align training with the communications plan—and ensure that the two remain in alignment:

     • Ensure that the communications plan and user training convey the same message

     • Create “what’s in it for me” messages for training to drive greater adoption and acceptance

     3. Create opportunities for stakeholder engagement:

     • Hold informal Q&A sessions outside of a formal classroom to capture the voice of the customer and tailor training content to address user needs

     • Deploy on-line quizzes, and provide workers the ability to practice with software in the field

     To summarize, training is one of several activities required to increase the speed and success of organizational change. A comprehensive training strategy and meaningful content coupled with robust training effectiveness metrics will strengthen your organization and facilitate innovation.

     T.J. Eberle is president and CEO of NouvEON, a regional business and technology consulting firm. Contact him at 704-944-3155 or visit

T.J. Eberle is president and CEO of NouvEON, a regional business and technology cunsulting firm.
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