Skip to main content

Change Management

Seeing the bigger picture

OCM’s Value Add Part 5 – Human’s Desire to View the Bigger Picture

By Change Management No Comments

Welcome to Part 5 of OCM’s Value Add 2023 series. So far, we have focused on how Organizational Change Management (OCM) can provide long term value by aligning it with the way humans naturally respond to change. We’ve covered three challenges:

  1. Humans’ desire to retain control.
  2. Humans’ desire for credible leadership.
  3. Humans’ preference and success in learning by doing.

In this post we will look at Challenge #4, humans’ desire to understand the bigger picture.

During the development and design phases, change management project leaders must be laser focused on goals, objectives, impacts and communications. However, to be successful in meeting the goals of successful change; (speed of adoption and sustainability and, reduction of change fatigue) leadership and communication efforts must “connect the dots” between multiple initiatives.

They must answer the questions of: “how do these changes ensure the success of our strategy? Are they driven by our strategy? Can leadership clearly align changes to overall our strategy, and do they do so consistently in their communications? Has training been developed to address these initiatives? Are users able to see how they are impacted by the collection of projects and do stakeholders see the “bigger picture?”

“To be successful in meeting the goals of successful change leadership and communication efforts must “connect the dots” between multiple initiatives.”

How it works today

  • The nature of how projects are defined, budgeted, sold, and approved often results in a singular focus when presented to users as part of leadership communications, training, impacts, and performance goals and measures.
  • While a link to strategy is provided it is often not overly emphasized. Individual initiatives and their OCM efforts are the primary focus, and in many cases they compete for resources and mind share.
  • OCM Stakeholders are often not informed about how the many projects they lead are con­nected in strategic terms. This can result in unnecessary change fatigue.

What tomorrow will look like

  • Stakeholders’ OCM responsibilities are not limited to a single project. They understand how their organizations are impacted by multiple initiatives and how to consistently communicate the bigger picture.
  • Leadership, managers, and other key stakeholders understand how employees can absorb more change when they see the bigger picture. They realize how this reduces change fatigue.
  • Leadership communications link each initiative to the overall strategy in tangible terms including budgets, timing, training, communications, and impacts.
  • Leadership holds stakeholders accountable for understanding how each initiative impacts their organization.
  • Communications and training “connect the dots” in specific terms of impact, timing, measurement and skills.
  • Corporate communications and HR play the “traffic cop role” to ensure that users see the bigger picture and their role in it. (note: this does not mean that Corporate Communications and HR are responsible for developing communications and training,, but they are responsible for the oversight of these activities).

Near term actions you can take

  • Introduce leadership, stakeholders, and managers to strategic OCM practices and how helping their organizations to see the “bigger picture” reduces change fatigue and accelerates adoption.
  • Introduce leadership to an initiative approval format that ensures they ask questions regarding the big picture and that provides an opportunity for sign off and approval for areas such as cost of OCM, timing, risks and risk mitigation and potential points of resistance.
  • Train Corporate Communications and HR in their oversight roles and the questions they need to be asking.
  • Introduce stakeholders and managers to the oversight role that HR and Corporate communications will be playing.

Our next and last blog of this series will shine the spotlight on humans’ desire to be a part of something that matters… something that makes a difference.

If your company is in need of organizational change management expertise, we would be happy to talk with you about your needs and goals, and make sure that they tie back to your “bigger picture.” Get in touch and let’s discuss.

Allyson’s AI Journey – #3

By Change Management, Communications, Learning No Comments

A wave of AI innovation is reshaping the workforce’s skill needs faster than ever. As robotics and systems automate routine work, human skills become the true currency for career success. Talent leaders know job descriptions can’t keep pace with this rapid change, leaving some employers and workers anxious. By embracing a skills-based talent strategy, companies can map skills gaps, align training and development initiatives, and empower employees to surf the AI wave rather than be swept away by it. The key is understanding which skills will complement new technologies and drive business forward. With targeted upskilling and an agile skills framework, talent leaders can lead a workforce transformation poised to harness AI’s potential. And employees? Employees must continuously expand their skills, as well as pursuing ongoing development opportunities to remain relevant and invaluable.

Where do we start? These skills start with digital literacy. The Library Association’s digital-literacy task force offers this definition: “Digital literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.” [1]

Digital literacy can be developed at any age. It’s good to see resources for educators to support the digital literacy of our future employees. Did you know that Microsoft has a support feature used by educators to teach students how to search? Called “Search Coach”,[2] the tool provides context and guidance for students to ask effective questions to discover reliable sources.

New technology has always required us to develop technical skills. Depending on your job role, this could include skills such as programming, system integration or data analysis. For some jobs, it may be simply learning how to use an AI prompt to leverage the power of generative AI.

Here are two courses I’m working through to develop technical skills on using Chat GPT:

Most businesses require employees to work together, so Interpersonal and Leadership Skills will still be in high demand. The need to interact with others, lead others, and build high performing diverse teams will not go away with AI.

We’ll also need to strengthen and develop skills related to Ethics and Governance. As we leverage AI tools, we must ensure their ethical use and design. We will need to establish governance processes to ensure ethics and safety of use.

My Final Thoughts

I don’t envision AI taking on all human skills, so as we work alongside AI enabled technology, there will be a strong need to continue to build skills such as creativity and critical thinking. While AI might give us a head start, we will need to use our human competence to go beyond what AI generates for us.

So rather than be swept away by the waves of change coming at us, let us learn to ride them by developing the skills we need to direct us to the shore. With the right skills, we, as humans, can adapt, explore, and thrive in the most turbulent waters. As leaders of talent and business, we need to guide our organizations to harness this surge of AI and build skills to change, learn and grow. By empowering our people and focusing on the horizon, we can help guide our organizations through rough waters.




OCM’s Value Add Part 4 – Humans’ Preference in Learning by Doing

By Change Management No Comments

As you think about making major changes within your organization there are two key questions you should be asking yourself:

  1. Will this change accelerate the pace to get us to our more ideal future state?
  2. Will this change “stick” within my organization?

Looking into the future, business professionals will see greater success when their Organizational Change Management efforts (OCM) align with the way humans respond to change. In fact, there are five key challenges that govern our ways of thinking:

  1. Humans’ desire to retain control.
  2. Humans’ desire credible leadership.
  3. Humans’ preference and success in learning by doing.
  4. Humans’ desire to understand the “bigger” picture.
  5. Humans’ desire to be a part of something that matters. Something that makes a difference.

In this post. we will look at Challenge #3.

Challenge #3 – Human’s preference and success in learning by doing.

  • From our experience in adult learning, we know that humans want control and involvement in the design, delivery, and timing of their training.
  • They want training that is designed around how they learn most effectively.
  • They want to experiment in finding what best works for them.
  • They learn by doing. An aspect of training that allows them to experiment in the future state prior to using it and long after it becomes their reality.
  • They want their training to be tied to a specific goal.

How it works today

  • While adult learning is not a new concept, neither are many of the other concepts in this article. It must align with these challenges to ensure change that delivers speed and sustainability.
  • Much of change related training has a heavy emphasis on pre-change “live”, in-person classroom training.
  • Post-change support is seen as an expense to be managed rather than an active learning by doing.
  • Post-change support is often staffed entirely with live support that limits time (and budget), and as a result limiting how long the support can remain in place.
  • While not a new concept, allowing all future users to test drive, and experiment with, a new environment (including process changes) prior to its application is not widely done.
  • Trainers may or may not know how the system and processes work today.

What tomorrow will look like

  • Live training prior to the change will be a smaller component than it is today.
  • The primary goal of pre-change training is to prepare the users with the basics, prepare them to operate in the future state on Day 1, and to know where to go if they have questions or “get stuck”.
  • Hands on experimentation and learning by doing will be a part of the training process.
  • Post-change training will be seen as the primary training vehicle and will include access to expert advice, both live and automated.
  • Change champions who understand where to get answers (live or automated) for users will be in part of the training infrastructure.

Near term actions you can take

  • Introduce leadership to an overview of adult learning concepts in The Learning Pyramid[1] or other similar discussion starters.
  • Own the training development process. Limit the involvement of a technology vendor to subject matter expert.
  • Budget the support function using measures that include competency vs dollars spent.
  • Ensure that messaging in communications is consistent with similar communication in training materials.
  • Ensure that users know where and who to go to in search of answers. Clear navigation is important.
  • If possible, task change agent networks with knowing where to go to update for answers.
  • Ensure that training materials are constantly up to date.
  • Champion the use of user groups to share learning by doing.
  • Ensure that the trainers and change champions know how the current environment works.
  • Survey effectiveness of post-change training.
  • Ensure that refresher training driven by use is part of the process.

If you’re looking for a partner to lead a major OCM effort within your organization, we have the expertise. Get in touch, and let’s craft a plan that is tailored to your company’s needs.

ChatGPT and AI Tools: Tools to Use – 3 of 3

By Change Management, Learning No Comments

In the ever-evolving landscape of instructional design, harnessing the potential of AI tools has the possibility to be a game-changer because of the ways these tools can support a designer in each phase of the ADDIE model. For me, the biggest “aha” moment when exploring ChatGPT and other AI tools was realizing that they are not the first AI-powered tools available to instructional designers and learning professionals.

While ChatGPT stands out as one of the most advanced and sophisticated AI tools, you may have already encountered AI technology in your work without even realizing it. In this third article in the ChatGPT and AI tools series, I’m going to share some of the tools that I’ve been experimenting with as well as some questions to consider to determine what the right AI tool is for you and your organization.

“…AI tools can unlock new possibilities for creating impactful and engaging learning assets if used in responsible ways.”


For many learning and development professionals, it will come as no surprise that we’ve been living in the AI and machine learning world for decades. The difference that is causing the world to notice ChatGPT and AI tools now is the level of sophistication and user interfaces that are making AI generative tools more accessible to a wider population of end users instead of just the technology industry. For example, have you ever heard of or worked with one of the following tools: Vyond, Speechelo, Synthesia, or Grammarly? If you said “yes,” you have experienced AI generative technology.

With hundreds of options available, how do you choose which of the AI tools to start exploring?

I focused on four categories that can greatly assist in the design and development phase of the ADDIE model to create learning assets:

  1. Text to Speech
  2. Text Assisted Writing
  3. Graphic Visualization
  4. AI Video Generation

Key Criteria to Determine Tool Usage

What I found helpful was to create a list of key criteria to determine which tools would be best for the types of project work that I’m doing as well as my own personal growth.

The four key criteria I decided to use for the tools in this article included:

  1. Your Organization’s AI Policy – The first question to ask whether or not your organization has a policy about AI tool usage. Some organizations may or may not be interested in adopting AI technology or may have specific guidelines on what they think are the responsible uses of AI. For example, The CARA Group, Inc. recently published their policy in order to protect the business, their clients and their consultants.
  2. Ease of use – How quickly could I log into the AI tool and start creating without having to take a class, read a user manual or watch a YouTube video to learn how to utilize the tool.
  3. Cost/Affordability – Does the tool require a monthly or annual subscription and do they have a free trial? Many of these tools – especially the AI video tools – can cost hundreds of dollars for individual licenses and thousands for enterprise licenses. For me, a free trial is key in order to see the quality of the output.
  4. High-quality desired output – What is the desired output for the learning asset? Does your client need a certain file format? Does your client want to be able to update the files independently? For graphic visualizations, understanding the resolution and realism of the images was a significant deciding factor on whether to continue using the tool.

With these criteria in mind, let’s dive into the world of AI-powered Text to Speech, Text Assisted Writing, Graphic Visualizations, and AI Avatar Videos, by discussing some of the benefits and challenges they present along the way.

Text to Speech

One category of AI tools that can significantly benefit instructional designers is Text to Speech. These tools provide the ability to convert written text into spoken audio, adding a dynamic and engaging element to your learning assets. The benefits of Text to Speech tools include increased accessibility, improved learner engagement, and time-saving during content creation. However, there can be challenges such as ensuring natural-sounding voices, maintaining pronunciation accuracy, and achieving proper intonation and emphasis. Examples of tools include:

  • Google Text to Speech has been around since 2008. This is a free, effective tool for client mock-ups to give them a feel of what the text in a video or elearning will sound like without having to spend a lot of time in an AI video tool.
  • TextMagic, is a free tool with a range of 70 voices available in various languages. While the voices may sound similar to standard elearning voices, TextMagic offers a quick and cost-effective option for incorporating text-to-speech capabilities into your learning assets.
  • Speechelo, is a paid subscription and, from my experience, has some of the best natural-sounding voices. There are two versions: standard and pro. The main benefit to almost all of the AI-tools that I tried have standard versions that have watermarks and basic features. If a project requires additional languages and audio recordings with larger numbers of characters, then the pro or paid versions are a good investment.

Text Assisted Writing

Another valuable category of AI tools is Text Assisted Writing. These tools utilize AI algorithms to assist instructional designers in generating written content. They can provide suggestions, correct grammar, and spelling, and even offer ideas for creative wording. The benefits of Text Assisted Writing tools include increased productivity, improved writing quality, and reduced editing time.

In my experiments, I found the writing output generated to be fairly high quality, but the big problem is that it is not written in my own voice. However, if you’re tasked to write multiple choice test questions or text about general topics, I found these tools to be helpful.

The bigger challenge is ensuring that none of the AI text is copyrighted. I recommend doing the research to ensure as best as possible to validate the text being utilized in your learning asset and to ensure the correct citation is being done.

  • ChatGPT
  • Canva Magic Write

AI Image Generators (Graphic Visualizations)

When it comes to graphic visualizations, there are several AI image generator tools worth exploring. These tools provide benefits such as saving time and effort in graphic design, generating custom and eye-catching visuals, and facilitating creativity. However, challenges may include limitations in customization options, potential copyright concerns, and the need for a discerning eye to ensure the generated visuals align with the learning objectives.

  • Canva, a popular graphic design platform, offers Canva Magic Write, which utilizes AI to generate design suggestions based on your content. Canva Magic Write is an app that is added through the primary tool and is simple and fast. The quality has been inconsistent depending on whether the text prompts are common terms such as “safety, nurse, doctor, car, etc.’
  • DALL-E 2 is another intriguing tool that can generate unique visual assets, such as illustrations of unique concepts, by transforming longer textual descriptions into images. A more specific text prompt will produce clearer, more realistic images.
  • Midjourney is another tool that combines AI and design to create visually vibrant graphics that are even being sold as wall art products. I’m not sure this would be the most effective tool for an instructional designer creating elearning or job aids. From my research, this tool seems to be trending in the graphic design world and integrates with the Discord social platform.

AI Video Generation

Videos are a powerful medium for instructional designers and eLearning. There are a plethora of AI tools that can assist in creating videos from text such as and These types of AI generated videos also have the capability of adding AI-powered voice over which potentially eliminates the need for a professional voiceover depending on the project and overall voice quality desired.

Over a year ago, I was introduced to for a safety management class where we created micro videos to introduce each section of the two-day course. Instead of filming a newscaster for our television news show, we utilized the AI generated avatar videos. Synthesia enables the creation of videos by combining AI-generated avatars with spoken text. The output is an .mp4 file that can be easily inserted into your eLearning or instructor-led course. The benefit of is that there is a direct integration feature with Articulate 360. The avatars are improving each month with new releases from the company.

The challenge is if a client wants to edit the videos later and does not know how to use Synthesia. The files can be edited in any type of video editor such as Adobe Premiere or Canva, but the avatars cannot be changed outside of the app.

Be curious or be fearful?

In this final article of the series on my exploration of Chat GPT and AI tools from an instructional designer’s perspective, my question to you is will you be curious or fearful?

By exploring the diverse range of AI tools available, I’ve experienced a glimpse of what AI technology can do for an instructional designer. I believe AI tools can unlock new possibilities for creating impactful and engaging learning assets if used in responsible ways. Remember to consider your organization’s AI policy, ease of use, cost, and the desired output when selecting the right AI tools for your specific needs. Embracing AI-powered tools can enhance your instructional design process, streamline content creation, and ultimately elevate the learning experience for your audience.


Lessons Learned From an ERP Implementation

By Change Management, Communications, Learning No Comments

Most organizations today are undergoing digital transformation to include system implementations to enable their business and workforce performance. Successful implementations require focused and coordinated effort to ensure a Return on Investment. Having recently completed an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning software) implementation at our organization, we collected lessons learned to share with you.

In the Fall of 2022, we went live with our ERP. The implementation was both a challenging and rewarding 16-month journey. Along with the software implementation, we also implemented other organizational initiatives such as new business processes, new ways of working and organizational structural changes. These initiatives gave us firsthand experience with change saturation and change collision. Recognizing this reality, we knew to win around it required focused organizational change management and learning strategies and tactics to drive the adoption needed to meet customer expectations and drive business success.

“Throughout the implementation, we continually refined our requirements to align with the organization’s capacity for change.”


Nine months post go live, I’ve had a little bit of time to look back and document my lessons learned to share with those also navigating change.

  1. Strategically prioritize change initiatives and ensure everyone in the organization’s goals are aligned to drive adoption.

The ERP implementation was one of several initiatives for the company. As part of our performance management process, we ensured every individual had a goal aligned to the implementation’s success. This alignment allowed for individual accountability, better coordination and minimized conflicting efforts.

  1. Identify your organization’s skillsets and skill gaps. Bring in consulting expertise to bridge the gap.

We formed an internal team consisting of our system admin, subject matter experts, and leadership stakeholders. However, we also engaged with three experts to enable success.

  • The first was an implementation partner that guided us through the ERP implementation process. They educated us on the system’s capabilities and helped us redefine our processes.
  • The second was a CARA OCM Strategist who collaborated with the ERP team to create a change roadmap to bring us through design, deployment and destination.
  • The third was a CARA Learning consultant with expertise in technical writing, information architecture and the skills to design and develop a SharePoint site for organizing and hosting our training and performance support content. The ‘How CARA Works’ SharePoint site enables us to provide content and training around new processes and provides on demand help in their moment of need. We collaborated to create assets such as tutorial videos and how-to documentation. This site is now the centralized location for all our processes, procedures and training and enables us to easily make updates aligned with our continuous improvement post implementation.
  1. Pull together a group of super users to be your change champion network.

We were changing so many things for so many different people and needed representation from all the teams to test, sign off, and serve as escalation points as well as trainers. We brought the change champion network together before deployment and they invested in and took ownership of the change. They knew their teams and understood what they needed to hear from the implementation team for things to really click. Their input allowed us to address resistance early on and make adjustments to processes, training and communication as necessary. The super users also became fluent in the new system language and they continue to operate as their teams’ advocates to this day.

  1. Plan and prioritize communication and training.

Post Covid, we became a remote first organization which required us to rethink our approaches to communication and training. Using the change champion network as a sounding board we tested our plans and adjusted to ensure we met each user need. We leveraged existing touchpoints and meetings for communication along with clarified the cadence and location of where users could find communication and provide input.

  1. Define standard practices instead of managing to the exceptions.

We discovered many one-off processes that lacked standardization, hindering employee training and overall company growth. As a conscious decision, we converted disparate processes into standard practices that worked for 95% of situations. The remaining exceptions were addressed post-deployment.

  1. Refine your requirements to align to address change saturation.

Throughout the implementation, we continually refined our requirements to align with the organization’s capacity for change. We focused on delivering a minimum viable product and made the decision to phase in additional features over time, considering the teams’ ability to absorb and adapt to the changes.

  1. Acknowledge interdependency and transparency of data for better teamwork and more data-driven decision making.

We had several barriers across departments where one team had no idea what another team was doing to make their wishes become a reality. Our new system has spread the ownership for outputs across the company, and with this enhanced teamwork, fostered empathy for different responsibilities, and enabled real-time access to valuable data, empowering the team to make informed decisions and drive daily actions.

An ERP implementation journey can be a lengthy and challenging. However, we take pride in the valuable lessons learned and hope they will assist you as you consider or embark on your own implementation.


OCM’s Value Add Part 3 – Humans’ Desire for Credible Leadership

By Change Management No Comments

As we set out on our yearly goal of envisioning what organizational change management (OCM) will look like in the coming year, we reviewed two vital questions to assess OCM’s value:

  1. Does the OCM increase the speed of the organization’s adoption of their future state?
  2. Does the OCM sustain changed behaviors? Does the change “stick”?

With the above two questions in mind, we set out to, first, determine the year’s business priorities and the changes to OCM that enable those priorities.

So, we decided to look into the future, i.e., beyond the next calendar year, and see if we could get a picture of the longer-term value of OCM. In doing so, it became obvious that the changes needed to be tied to the way humans change. OCM aligning with the way humans change. Imagine that!

That created five challenges that govern our thinking. They are:

  1. Humans’ desire to retain control.
  2. Humans’ desire credible leadership.
  3. Humans’ preference and success in learning by doing.
  4. Humans’ desire to understand the “bigger” picture.
  5. Humans’ desire to be a part of something that matters. Something that makes a difference.

In this post, we will look at Challenge # 2: Humans’ desire to work with credible leadership.

Challenge #2 – Humans Desire Credible Leadership

  • Credible (knowledgeable and trustworthy) leadership is perhaps the most important variable in ensuring change. It is the foundation needed for humans to change.
  • Case in point…. from our last blog we talked about the need humans must have to believe they are in control… or feel they have as much control as they can get. This allows them to adapt to changes more rapidly. Study after study indicates that even if you are sharing bad news, humans want to know what it is and how it impacts them.
  • Perhaps this is obvious, but trust in leadership is the lynch pin that makes this work. If people don’t believe what leadership is telling them, or what they are hearing, they will not change! It’s that simple.
  • What isn’t simple is building and maintaining that foundation of trust at many levels and across the organization.
  • While transparency regarding the future is a good start, it is not all of it. Leaders must own successful change. While not expected to perform the tactics of a change management program, they do need to be aware of their responsibilities, how change impacts the bottom line, where points of resistance exist and their responsibility in managing them, and the impacts of the change to their employees.

How it works today

  • The role of credible leadership today is primarily addressed with communications that are transparent, high level, and aimed at creating excitement about the future.
  • The process and art of management of expectations is not fully understood by leadership. The overwhelming approach is to wait to communicate until they have all the answers.
  • Leadership does not fully understand what OCM is and its role in driving behavior change.
  • Leadership is often less than proactive on issues that are most likely to present resistance and their role in mitigation.
  • Leadership does not understand its specific accountability for the success of OCM.
  • Leadership views change management as a necessary evil and most often at the project level.
  • Leadership does not actively seek input regarding change from managers and change champions.
  • Management and leadership cannot articulate their specific roles in OCM.
  • Leadership cannot articulate the impact of the changes on their employees.

What tomorrow will look like

  • Change communication occurs at both the strategic and tactical levels…..and at the same time. Strategic communication constantly sets the context for the tactical.
  • The need for leadership to set expectations is constant and includes what isn’t currently known but will be and when.
  • Leaders are actively involved and understand the specifics of how the business strategy will impact their people.
  • Leaders understand how the various projects complement each other.
  • Leadership groups are aligned on the business strategy and understand how change impacts the acceleration to the future state and ensures sustainability of behaviors.
  • Leadership and management understand their specific accountabilities in OCM.
  • Leadership and management understand OCM, how it works and its value.
  • Leaders own change communications and can articulate how the changes impact employees.
  • While changing, many Leadership Development programs are “lite” on OCM at the leadership level.

Near term actions you can take as a change practitioner

  • Know where your leadership currently stands (utilize an external assessment) in their understanding of OCM’s value, potential points of resistance to change, accountabilities, alignment on the strategy, and their roles in driving change.
  • Ensure leaders understand their employees’ need for control and that communicating when they will they know more is often as valuable as having the answers themselves.
  • Ensure leadership understands their employees’ current questions and concerns regarding the future.
  • As a model for the future, share your organization’s plan for AI, the process and timing to advance essential impacts to roles, when you will know and share more, and their expected involvement in the process.
  • Ensure that your external consultants have a “bent” towards their client’s leadership education on change management. In short, look for a change management consultant who is looking to “put themselves out of business.
  • Ensure that leadership’s role in OCM is part of your Leadership Development curriculum.
  • Engage “Report Out to” leadership on addressing Change Management issues and risks. See leadership as a partner vs. a boss.

Point of Interest: For anyone who has led an OCM initiative, you know that “making change stick” is perhaps the least understood and the least successful of OCM efforts. It involves changing behaviors and leadership’s role in achieving that goal. Since we are talking about leadership in this edition, here is a link to a McKinsey piece[1] that does a nice job of identifying the challenge and what we know about changing behaviors.


Allyson’s AI Journey – #2

By Change Management, Communications, Learning No Comments

Welcome to my second blog about my AI Journey. I prompted ChatGPT to help me with a definition for Artificial Intelligence:

“AI is the technology that makes computers smart and capable of doing tasks that normally require human intelligence.”

I like this simple definition, however, I believe that, as humans, we will still be required to develop our own intelligence to operate in an AI enabled world.

Being a Gen Xer, I had the benefit of entering my career just as computers were becoming ubiquitous in the workplace. During my initial job interview, I assured my first employer of my proficiency in WordPerfect. Thanks to a crash course I received a week before my start date from a friend, I acquired sufficient knowledge to complete my job tasks.

Following that, I had the benefit of working for an organization which invested in computer training for its employees. In classes of 30, we learned how to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations using the earliest versions of the Microsoft software.

Early AI Example

Do any of you remember Microsoft Clippy? Clippy was an example of AI, an animated character that gave the user help with Microsoft Office applications. It used what in AI is called NLP (Natural Language Processing) to help the user. In simple terms, NLP is a field of AI that helps humans interact with the machine. To learn about NLP click here [1]or ask ChatGPT. While not everyone loved Clippy, it was an early attempt at integrating AI into user interaction with the computer.

Looking Ahead

Today, as organizations embrace or determine how more advanced AI will alter or disrupt their businesses, talent and learning leaders are partnering to determine how to build the AI competence of their current and future workforce. That competence building starts with our own learning and development.

“You have to learn to like to learn!” Allyson’s 6th grade science teacher, Mr. Martin

Thanks to my sixth-grade teacher, I learned that to keep up in our ever-changing world, we would need to keep learning. More importantly, he helped develop his students’ love for learning. As I’ve been on my AI learning and development journey, it’s becoming readily apparent that to be able to adapt to the rapid pace of change, the ability to be a continuous learner will be a necessity.

Here is a proposed learning journey for building your AI Competence.

  1. Start with your WHY
    1. Why do YOU want to learn more about Artificial Intelligence?
    2. What is motivating you to learn?
  2. Get curious and build AI fluency
    1. There are a lot of acronyms and terms to learn. Start with AI, NLP and Generative AI.
    2. Prompt ChatGPT or Bard to help you learn. One prompt I used was, “Act as a novice in the area of Artificial intelligence and create a 10 questions quiz on the top terms I should learn.”
  3. See what the experts are saying
    1. There are many newsletters, Ted Talks, blogs, webinars, and events out there. Here are a few of the I am currently reading.
      1. TLDR: daily newsletter: AI, ML, and Data Science in 5 Min[2]
      2. Artificial Intelligence newsletter by Andriy Burkov [3]
      3. CARA’s blog series by Laura Antos “ChatGPT and AI Tools: An Instructional Designer’s Exploration Featuring the Why, Lessons Learned, and Tools to Use – 1 of 3”
      4. CARA’s blog series by Laura Antos “ChatGPT and AI Tools: Lessons Learned from My Exploration – 2 of 3”
  4. Experiment
    1. Use your own devices if your company hasn’t allowed it, and experiment with the tools available. Have you downloaded ChatGPT on your iPhone or are using Bard or Bing?
  5. Connect with others on a learning journey
    1. Learning leaders know that power of cohort and learning communities. Join or start your own to power your AI learning journey.

We are in for more disruption to our ways of working and machines can be a friend or foe, but you won’t know if you don’t learn more.

More to come as I continue my learning journey…

[1] Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science,,

[2] TLDR AI Newsletter,

[3] AI Newsletter, Andriy Burkov, LinkedIn

Leveling Up Your Consulting Skills with Emotional Intelligence

By Change Management, Communications, Learning No Comments

In my first blog, “Consulting Skills For The Workforce of the Future”, I shared what it takes to become an exceptional consultant – the ability to perform and deliver results as well as more advanced soft skills that allow you to become connected and invaluable, such as executive influence, strategic agility, and political savviness.

Today, I will share another skill which is critical in “Leveling Up” as a consultant. We know that the ability to drive business success and build long-term relationships requires logical and structured thinking. The consultants who pay close attention to the details, immerse themselves into the fabric of the client organization, and are savvy enough to stay clear of business landmines? Those of us on the hiring side know that these are the most valuable consultants of them all.

The consultants who pay close attention to the details, immerse themselves into the fabric of the client organization, and are savvy enough to stay clear of business landmines? Those of us on the hiring side know that these are the most valuable consultants of them all. “


So, Now What… How do you LEVEL UP as a Consultant?

Do you want just a “Thank you” when you finish a project? Hopefully you want more than that! You should desire a customer who is ferociously finding ways to continue partnering with you because you have become invaluable to their organization. Consultants who are truly “worth their salt” look back on each consulting engagement and ask themselves and their customers “What could I have done differently to improve that experience or outcome?” This should happen even when the engagement is a success, as self-awareness helps us make sounder decisions, build stronger relationships, and communicate more effectively.

Leveling up as a consultant requires a high degree of Emotional Intelligence (EI) – the ability to identify, understand, and manage one’s emotions as well as the emotions of others, in order to build and maintain positive relationships. It also includes being able to think clearly and collaborate to solve problems. [1]

Remaining flexible in response to changing circumstances is the “holy grail” in consulting.”

Emotional intelligence provides a level of empathy to place the consultant in the customer’s shoes, so-to-speak. They will understand the perspectives, needs, as well as concerns of the customer. Being empathetic can help to build and stabilize relationships because it builds trust and rapport. Adjusting their approach based on the needs and requirements of the client is the key of understanding and meeting the customer where they are! Remaining flexible in response to changing circumstances is the “holy grail” in consulting.

Priorities as employers continue to evolve and hiring or promoting based on experience and skills are not enough. With recent economic conditions, it’s important to understand the importance of emotions at work. EI is important across all aspects of work, especially in roles requiring interaction and collaboration – which is at the core of what consultants do!

A person with high EI is more likely to:[2]

  • Name and express their feelings and connect to their emotions, to be able to understand and manage their responses to stimuli and events. They can identify root causes rather than ineffectively trying to deal with symptoms or results. They are self-aware, openly expressive, and healthily assertive.
  • Know what they want and make plans to achieve their goals. They have a better understanding of what drives them. They are more likely to understand what gives them pleasure and why. This means they are more likely to identify their values and know their purpose in life.
  • Remain calm in challenging situations. By labeling their feelings and recognizing their emotions, people with high EI can learn to manage their feelings instead of allowing their emotions to hijack their thoughts. This can help them remain calm while others are losing their heads.

So, where are you on the emotional intelligence scale? The following behaviors will help aid you in the journey to highly become emotionally intelligent:

  • Practice self-awareness: Pay attention to your own emotions and try to identify what triggers them. Journaling or reflection of day-to-day experiences is a way to begin capturing your emotions.
  • Learn to manage your emotions: Once you become more aware of your emotions, you can learn to manage them in a healthy way. Practice deep breathing, mindfulness, or meditation.
  • Develop empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and share feelings of others. Practice active listening, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, and compassion.
  • Build stronger relationships: Emotional intelligence is also about building strong relationships with others. Be open and honest in your communication, showing appreciation and gratitude, and develop trust.
  • Seek feedback: Ask trusted friends or colleagues for feedback on your behavior. This can help you identify areas for improvement and develop a better understanding of how you come across to others.


[2] Forbes, “Why is Emotional Intelligence Important?”, December 2022

OCM’s Value Add Part 2 – Humans’ Desire to Retain Control

By Change Management No Comments

Recently, we set out on our annual task of painting the vision of organizational change management (OCM) for 2023. For those who have read our previous posts, you know that we believe in OCM’s value to accelerate and sustain the change created by business priorities.

With that premise in mind, we set out to, first, determine the year’s business priorities and then the changes to OCM that enable those priorities. A fairly straight forward process, or so we thought.

Somewhere in that process for 2023, it became obvious to us that while businesses were creating change in new areas, in OCM terms, we were using many of the same processes and tools that we had used before. While the businesses were changing, changes to OCM were not too dissimilar from the prior year, especially when OCM is tied to a specific project.

So, we decided to look into the future, i.e., beyond the next calendar year, and see if we could get a picture of the longer-term value of OCM. In doing so it became obvious that the changes needed to be tied to the way humans change. OCM aligning with the way humans change. Imagine that!

This created five challenges that govern our thinking. They are:

  1. Humans’ desire to retain control.
  2. Humans’ desire for credible leadership.
  3. Humans’ preference and success in learning by doing.
  4. Humans’ desire to understand the “bigger” picture.
  5. Humans’ desire to be a part of something that matters, something that makes a difference.

In this post we will look at the first challenge and its attributes.

Challenge #1 – Humans’ desire to retain control

  • Humans need to feel they are in control, or feel they have as much control as they can get. It allows them to adapt to the changes more rapidly. Study after study indicates that even if you are sharing bad news, humans want to know what it is and how it impacts them.
  • Good leadership follows the mantra of “tell me what you know, tell me what you don’t know, and tell me when you will know more” because of this human need.
  • Employees would rather have more information vs. waiting until all the answers are available.
  • Meeting expectations is critical for moving humans forward.

How it works today

  • Communicating expectations is primarily project based (vs. strategic) and comes from project managers, communication leads and are often delivered after the changes have been defined.
  • Managing expectations is not fully understood by leadership. The overwhelming desire is to wait to communicate until they have all the answers.

What tomorrow will look like

  • Communication needs to occur at both the strategic and tactical levels and at the same time. Strategic communication consistently sets the context for the tactical.
  • The need to set expectations is constant and includes what isn’t currently known but will be and when.
  • Managing expectations is seen as a process.
  • Leaders are actively involved and understand how the business strategy will impact the people.
  • Leaders understand how the various projects complement each other.
  • Leadership groups are aligned on the business strategy.

Near term actions you can take

  • Ensure leaders understand their employees’ need for control and that communicating when they will know more is often as valuable as having the answers themselves.
  • Ensure leaders know, and practice, the mantra of telling employees what they know, what they don’t know, and when they’ll know more.
  • Ensure leadership understands their employees’ questions and concerns. For example, why are we doing this now? What happens if we don’t do it now? What is the impact on me? Will I have a job? Will I be trained? How does this impact other initiatives? What is the timing?
  • As a model for the future, share your organization’s plan for AI, the process and timing to advance its potential roles, when you will know and share more, and their expected involvement in the process.

The third blog in this series shines the spotlight on aligning OCM, human behavior, and the need for, and the development of, credible leadership to create trust in leaderships’ voice.

In the interim, we’d love to hear from you on what you think about the human behavior challenges facing the future of OCM.

Allyson’s AI Journey

By Change Management, Learning No Comments

I was at a lunch recently where the two tables around us were talking about AI and ChatGPT. I wasn’t eavesdropping, it just seems that I keep hearing people talk about this everywhere I go in person and online. I then realized it was time to accelerate my learning!

As a leader of Talent for my firm, I knew from my research that AI was transforming how we were working: from ChatGPT assisting in the talent acquisition process and jumpstarting compliance training assessments to AI enabled voiceover to enable us to update elearning at a faster pace.

My first night with ChatGPT was like watching my teenager scrolling through Instagram. I was hooked, writing prompts, and evaluating the output. My brain swirled with the possibilities of this tool, not only for my role as a Talent Leader but also as in my role as a mom. The last prompt late that night was to chart out a plan for our summer college visit trip. While the driving times weren’t all correct, I do have a sketched-out plan that will save hours and serve as a starting point for our family planning session.

The possibilities with ChatGPT and AI seem endless, however, I know I have a lot to learn to harness this power. As a learning leader for many years, I realize that I need a learning journey for my team and me. Jumping into a solution without understanding the objective can actually be a loss of productivity and scrap learning.

So, this is the beginning of my journey to learn how AI and the tools around it can enable me, my team, and my organization to add value and be more productive.

Stay tuned for more of my journey!