The easy answer is yes. If you are just getting started in the field then it is the fastest way to (a) baseline your knowledge and (b) demonstrate on your resume that you have basic knowledge. Even if you have other adjacent knowledge, credentials and experience it is only common sense that a recruiter / prospective client will be looking to validate that you know the common lexicon and processes.
If you are an employee and your employer will not cover the costs then this is a more difficult decision but I will suggest that investing in your own career is one of the best investments you can make. It demonstrates your commitment and sets you apart from your Colleagues. Certainly it can be done over time and accelerated if you need to look for another opportunity.
If you are serious about Change Management as a profession then start first by considering what professional accreditation you might want to end up with and select the training certification that will get you there.
There are two professional accreditations. Both have training components in their requirements.
- The Change Management Institute was established in 2005 in Australia
- It was founded on the principle of competencies, ie “what change professionals can and would be expected to do in their roles”.
- The Change Management Body of Knowledge is an excellent reference, well worth investing in and the competency models are exceptional
- CMI offers three levels of accreditation:
- Accredited Change Manager (ACM) Foundation
- ACM Specialist
- ACM Master
- Training is one of the components.
- Prosci and APMG are qualified education providers
- The Association of Change Management Practitioners was launched in 2011 in North America.
- A few short years later, ACMP produced “The Standard” which is an excellent codification of much of the world’s process-oriented change management approaches into an index of project processes. This is well worth downloading and studying.
- Shortly after that the Certified Change Management Professional™ (CCMP™) accreditation was established and Qualified Education Providers were approved with courses designed to teach to “The Standard”.
- When I just checked there were about 50 courses that qualified for the education components.
- So which accreditation? This is tough ….
- ACMP seems to have more traction with their CCMP accreditation in North America however, and strictly my own opinion, if you are aiming for supporting transformation strategy you will outgrow ACMP.
- The CMI accreditation, with a focus on competencies, provides a longer runway for growth. You can still take a tactical training component to get the process approach under your belt, and get the Foundation level accreditation. As you progress in your career you can upgrade your accreditation to Specialist and then Master.
So … which training?
- Of course many organizations now offer their own in-house Change Management training. Consulting firms have done this for years and many are terrific. Take all the training you can get. I have found you will learn something from them all.
- Years ago the de facto North American answer was Prosci’s 3-day Change Manager Certification”. It was the most well-known and often referenced in job ads. Many organizations have adopted it as their foundational course. If you are aiming to get hired by a particular organization you might read through their job posting with a fine tooth comb looking for references.
- Since then there are MANY comparable training offers in the market. How should you choose? Here are some criteria to consider:
- Content (if the vendor is recognized by ACMP and/or CMI you are probably covered)
- Status (is it recognized by your employer/prospective clients)
- Access, ie in person / on line / scheduling
- Cost (course plus travel/accommodation)
- Does it qualify for the accreditation are you aiming for
So once you have your initial training selected and you are lined up for your accreditation, perhaps even have taken a membership so you can get access to more great resources are you done? No! Build your own ~5-year development plan.
There is no substitute or short cut for this tho you may evolve it as you learn more. You can include:
- Reading (blogs, books, journals, etc)
- Podcasts / Webinars
- Conferences (pro tip: if you speak you will often get a complimentary pass)
Is that all? Still no!
You will also need experience but how to get it?
- Get yourself a great mentor and if you can’t find a volunteer then pay a coach. Consider Dr Jen Frahm or Brian Gorman – they are both experienced, insightful and trained to coach
- Take “apprenticeship” assignments, ie perhaps not the easiest, best paying or most convenient projects but start where ever you can. Bonus points if you can work with a more senior practitioner
So am I taking my own advice? Yes and no …
- I earned my Prosci certification in 2009 and I am know that it has continued to evolve and improve. It has served me well.
- When I was with Conner Partners 2010-2016 I had the privilege of taking their outstanding Agent 1 and 2 Change Execution Methodology training. The combination of Prosci’s project approach and Conner Partners’ more strategic, system approach has provided an outstanding base.
- I added Jason Little’s Lean Change Management program and continue to add in additional thought leadership through on-going self-study.
- I am an active member in CMI (I was Canada Co-Lead for 2017-19) as I believe strongly in this organization’s philosophy and approach and continue to benefit from the thought leadership offered via webinars etc. However I have decided not to attain an accreditation. If I were planning to work in the field for another 10 years I would invest in the CMI ACM Master.
- I am getting more mileage out of studying adjacent fields including Organizational Agility (including becoming an instructor for “The Agile Model” created by Dr. Nick Horney and Tom O’Shea), Positive Psychology, Business Architecture and Strategy.
Your career as a journey
We so often only think about the “next step” in our lives. If we thought about our careers across a 20- or 30-year horizon and lightly sketched a directional plan, while also allowing that we would be flexible and open to opportunities, I think we might be amazed at the possibilities that emerge.
Wishing you all the best on your exciting journey.