ACMP SoCal at the Change Management Conference 2017 (May 21-24, New Orleans)

Our takeaways from the conference

Over 30 of our SoCal members attended the conference in New Orleans! We heard excellent keynote speakers, did a lot of networking – meeting new and old friends and making new connections. Our SoCal Mardi Gras event on Bourbon Street was a hit (so many beads, so little time), and we managed to attend all types of informative and inspiring sessions. It’s unanimous; a great time was had by all.

Here are conference highlights contributed by our SoCal members:

Keynote: Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Come Together and Others Don’t – Simon Sinek, International Speaker & Author

Simon Sinek

Simon says…

  • Finite vs. Infinite game players: finite players are competing against their competition; infinite players are competing against themselves.
  • Inspire On!
  • Ask why you should.


Soft Skills: The Harder Side of Change Management – Jo Grubb, Global Adoption & Change Management, Microsoft

Practical tips and tricks for using emotional intelligence in everyday communications. How much are you thinking about how you communicate? Food for thought: 50% visual, 40% auditory, words themselves account for less than 10%.


  • Start doing the little things you already know you can do
  • Become a keen observer of others and help them where necessary
  • Start living in a state of awareness and listen to what is really being said
  • Develop a Growth Mindset


How to Work with Senior Executives Who Don’t Get It – Dean Anderson, CEO, Being First, Inc.

  • Be conscious of your fear when advising leaders.
  • Speak the language of results (value, on time, speed, budget, etc.).
  • Validate leaders’ perspective first.
  • Be vulnerable to establish a bond.
  • Create a partnership with those you have access to (Project Managers) rather than try to change the mindset of the CEO.


Stop the Madness: Why System Optimization for Technology Isn’t Achieved and What to Do About It – Don Harrison, President & Founder, IMA
Technology projects often lose sight of the human factor resulting in a high failure rate even when the technical installation is a success. It is our duty to ensure sponsors realize that a communications and training plan is not the same as an adoption plan.

Adoption is determined by reinforcement, and you should plan for four times the amount of positive reinforcement compared to negative (since negative reinforcement is emotionally powerful).Technology change efforts should be led by the business, not IT, and sponsorship is not a voluntary position!


Make It Stick: Step Outside the Box to Make your Change Program Simple, Fun & Memorable – Greg Loveday, Director of Change Management, SCU

  • Speak to them in their language (to the heart)
  • WHY – We Help You
  • CHANGE – Creative, Honest, Active, Network, Gear, Embed
  • People helping people
  • Manage resistance by listening
  • Make it easy for others to get credit
  • Utilize social media
  • Give them “gear/swag” as a reminder


The Wisdom in Resistance: Make It Work For You, Rather Than Against You – Leslie DePol, Co-Founder and CEO, Polarity Partnership Inc.
This session brought up a really good point about the tensions that occur when implementing change and how these polarities are a natural part of business transformations. Ensure you understand the pros/cons of both the current and future state so you don’t ‘throw the baby out with the bath water’ and everyone feels their concerns are understood. We may believe ‘they are stuck in the problem’, but they may believe we ‘are hooked on the solution’. Understand both perspectives to create the best win-win scenario.


Ladders and Bananas: Survival-kit for Professionals in Change – Cyriel Kortleven, International Speaker & Author
It is inspiring to think outside of the box, to dream big, and then implement parts (Yes And Act concept). With enticing visuals and excellent storytelling, Cyriel’s banana peel analogy is applicable to many environments.


Are You a Master of Chaos? Cracking the CHANGE Code – Rashanda Rodgers & Brad Hall, Change Leaders, Nationwide Insurance
We live in a world of big data; it’s what organizations do with the data that matters. Make data meaningful to you and your leadership.
Tips for what to do with data:
1. Classify / 2. Analyze / 3. Report
Look at all data and combine into one meaningful view, a dashboard; share it throughout the organization.


Change Management in 2017: A Pulse Check, – Amee Cooper, Senior Director, WMware, & Lori Paschal Winters, Senior Director, Southwest Airlines

  • Change roles and titles to create PM and CM hybrid positions (75/25).
  • Prioritize projects by organizational impact based on spread, depth, emotional impact, risk, and time constraints (score of 1-5).


Neuroscience and Change Management – Josh Davis, Director of Research & Lead Professor, NeuroLeadership Institute
Since emotions play such a large part in the success of change efforts, it’s important to understand that our brains have evolved for social survival.

The strongest threats and rewards are those that impact the way we are perceived by those around us (SCARF model). If you decrease one of these aspects via change, ensure you increase the others to create balance.


What I will do differently next time: Confessions of an Enterprise Change Leader – Joe Rafter, Business Change Leaders Inc.
Watermelon projects appear green on the outside but are red on the inside; look for the watermelons.

Tips for working with leaders and asking questions:

  • Demonstrate the behavior
  • Ask questions in context: That’s an interesting perspective. How do you know that? What makes you so sure?


Hear the impressions and takeaways first hand from our attendees during a live webinar on Friday, June 23, 4-5pm. Click here to register. Can’t attend live? Register anyway to get a link to a recording.

Let us know in comments below what you thought of the conference and our takeaways!

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