Digital change: how do Change Practitioners get it right?

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LONDON, Wednesday 11 October 2017 – yesterday Ben Tye wrote about how you can excel at digital change, looking at where we have come from to where we are now and beyond in the world of digital and OCM. Today Wayne Knox is going to look at specifically, against the backdrop of fast moving change, how practitioners can keep pace.

The world of delivering change is changing

Change practitioners have long been required to stay nimble and fleet-of-foot as a professional requirement. The businesses and projects they support inevitably morph and shift to ensure that value is delivered.

OCM has evolved through many iterations, in continuously shifting landscapes where organisations need to deliver change on many levels. The OCM world now must focus on culture change, digital adoption, building change capability and providing specialist communications support. Practitioners must now also drive real change leadership through change-ambivalent senior executives. The demands on OCM’s reach and capability are ever increasing.

But how does an OCM expert ensure they are ahead of the game, or at least in it? That’s what this article seeks address.

OCM 3.0

The definition of a ‘change practitioner’ implies being an expert in change and being able to change oneself, but this isn’t always true.  Change practitioners are often too busy trying to support change through the projects, teams and businesses who they serve day in day out.  It’s no secret that change practitioners don’t really like change, or so goes the running joke. That’s why people get into change as a vocation, so they can get to grips with it from the inside.

Nonetheless, change practitioners have to stay relevant and fit-for-purpose if they are to succeed now and in the future. And as been written about countless times, that is digital. So what does this mean?

As we have previously covered this week, digital change can refer to products, processes, services or platforms. From data and privacy to apps and software, design thinking and agile and lean practices, artificial intelligence and robotics.  And anything in between. Its no longer a ‘type’ of change project, but can make up the vast majority of change projects.

The notion of OCM 3.0 has been put forward as a way of understanding how change is delivered in this digitally disrupted, customer-centric world. And what the implications are for change practitioners.

One popular change practitioner who has been talking and writing about OCM 3.0 is Dr Jennifer Frahm. She is an active force in the change community in her native Australia, and across the globe and we’ve asked Jen to give us some of her time and thoughts on this stuff. Tomorrow we will be posting the interview in full.

Change specialists 3.0

Organisations and projects require capable, specialist resources with the required skills and capabilities to ensure people outcomes and benefits are realised in the digital world. We believe this hasn’t changed since the pre-digital world.

However, this does mean change practitioners need to equip themselves with the right skills and behaviours to remain employable, and successful in a digitally disruptive OCM 3.0 environment.

Change practitioners need to ask themselves some questions around mindset and skillset:

  • Are you able to thrive in a VUCA environment? Taken from a military concept, can you cope when requirements aren’t clear, initiatives aren’t well formed, expected outcomes are unknown and plans bend and shift with each experiment.
  • Are you actively curious to search out new ways of working to find what works and what doesn’t?
  • Do you have an open, growth mindset so that when you go into ‘the pit’ you have the drive, determination and will power to get out and succeed?
  • Are you technologically savvy and do you embrace new platforms, tools and systems?
  • Are you comfortable operating in a complex programme environment? Not in the traditional sense of a big Project Management Office running 20 streams of concurrent work, but with matrix stakeholders, new sponsors, new markets, and people who don’t all get change.
  • Do you have a clear understanding and appreciation of Agile practices and methods so that you can operate on different types of projects?
  • Do you understand the benefits and methods around Design Thinking and how this such methods can benefit both OCM outcomes and the ‘end user’?

We don’t think the aim is to tick every box. This isn’t a checklist of essential requirements for the next job interview, but there are some areas we think OCM practitioners should focus more time and attention on.


Change practitioners may be ahead of all this. If so, tell us what works for you and what we missed? You may want to discuss/debate some of these points? You may find this overwhelming, don’t.

Here’s some things to do:

  1. Go and read Lean Start Up by Eric Reis and Lean Change by Jason Little
  2. Attend an Agile event in your area
  3. Go to a tech conferencex
  4. Read more from Lena Ross about getting on-board with agile, innovation and change
  5. Follow this blog from Dr. Jen Frahm to learn more tips and tricks for succeeding in OCM.
  6. Learn about Design Thinking here
  7. Listen to Carol Dweck talk about Growth Mindset
  8. Read this from last year, watch this, look at this and review this


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