Life at Perficient

Why Our Change Management Team Launched a Book Club

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There wasn’t any hesitation from our Organizational Change Management (OCM) team when our practice lead David Chapman, CCMP, proposed launching a practice book club and put it to a vote.

“I received a unanimous, ‘yes,’” he said.

The team committed to reading the selections and then participating in discussions and sharing facilitation responsibilities during their bi-monthly meetings. They’ve enjoyed the conversations and realized some significant benefits from them.

David and one of his fellow teammates and book club members Jim Rowe, Solution Architect, recently discussed why the concept has worked so well:

Why did you decide to launch a book club?

David: I came up with the concept as a means to further develop our skills by discussing thought-provoking ideas from OCM influencers. The topics we cover facilitate meaningful conversations around real-world challenges. We distill the ideas to their core and make them tangible by application. We are also learning collaboratively from each other’s experiences on projects.

What are your goals for the club?

David: My goals are to:

  • Further develop our OCM capabilities, individually and collectively
  • Learn from each other
  • Continue building on our already collaborative culture, deepening relationships making us a stronger team

What are you reading?

David: We’re reading Harvard Business Review’s “10 Must Reads on Change Management.” It’s a collection of 10 articles that cover different OCM topics. I picked this because each article is manageable in size (about 20 pages) and covers topics that are relevant to each of us on our projects. The topics are applicable, and even more so when we discuss real-world applications, either where we’ve actually seen these concepts in practice or where we could envision applying them on our current projects. I often challenge the team to look at their projects through the lenses of the various topics we discuss. It gives us new and different views and ways for our projects, and thus our clients, to be more successful.

How has the experience improved your professional skills?

Jim: Organizational Change Management is a relatively young discipline by most standards, and as a result, many customers don’t fully understand the ROI potential driven by improved adoption. The book club articles are thought provoking and interesting, but the benefit comes from the group discussions expanding the best-practice concepts into a number of different value-add applications.

How has it helped your Organizational Change Management work on projects?

Jim: There have been a number of aha moments, but one that I specifically put into practice came from “Tipping Point Leadership” by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. My client, a key player in insurance claims management, hired Perficient to help them migrate from Lotus Notes to Office 365. I had a well-developed communication plan that was delivering mediocre results because the organization was change saturated and under resourced. The answer was not going to come from additional communication efforts. Stakeholders were not reading key emails and were missing preparation details. This resulted in a handful of stakeholders that had to be rescheduled for a later migration. “Tipping Point Leadership” states that, “Once the beliefs and energies of a critical mass of people are engaged, conversion to a new idea will spread like an epidemic.” The concept led me to pursue a Change Champion network. I developed a group of about 50 influential, well-respected managers and provided additional training to get them knowledgeable in the new technology.

These managers, Change Champions, brought my migration process and critical information into their weekly team meetings. As a result, stakeholders embraced the change and engaged in the transformation rather than pushing it away. Once they understood the benefits communicated to them by their respected peers, we created the critical mass needed to drive adoption.

What is it like during the book club discussions?

Jim: The concepts in the book are helpful but, without a doubt, the value comes from the team discussion. Getting multiple examples of practical implementation of a concept is so powerful. Our process has proven to be very enriching and valuable. It has been a lot of fun to strategize and collaborate with the team.

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Kristin Brashares

Kristin Brashares serves as Digital Senior Marketing Manager at Perficient and is a proud member of the Women in Tech ERG.

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