As I continue to gain ‘quals’ (qualifications) as a professional meeting facilitator and consultant I sometimes wonder if I’m not certifiable myself – as in certifiably insane for spending time and money to re-learn the same best practices under newly packaged names. So before I enrolled in the 3-Day Prosci Change Management Certification Program, I was honestly suspicious.

Why have a separate approach for the people side of a project? Isn’t change the natural state of being in business these days? So any decent leader who can execute his organization’s strategy should have the people side of things covered. Right?

Prosci Change Management

But having also worked as a manager in a variety of corporate settings I have witnessed first-hand the lack of attention paid to the people side of many initiatives.

Like the time when the top salesman, who had become the top salesman off the back of a napkin and a handshake, was asked to do two hours of data entry at the end of his day to feed the fantastic, new, expensive sales software system.

This wise man, who rarely touched a computer, simply smiled and paid lip service to doing this task – and then never did it. No matter how hard the highly paid trainers tried. No matter how big the threats were from his sales manager. This guy was not going to change the way that he successfully did business. Good for him. Not good for the organization.

So with an open mind, an interest in expanding my soft skills tool box, I started my Prosci Change Management Certification journey.

Pre-Reading and Case Preparation

I signed up two weeks early and got my pre-course assignments which included pre-reading and case preparation.

I especially enjoyed  the pre-reading because it was my first detailed introduction to ADKAR (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement), which made me immediately reflect upon how I worked with individuals.

I realized that I was getting stuck on D, Desire, because my clients often had the Awareness that they had to make a change, but most of the time they just didn’t want to do anything about it. So I was stoked to learn more about how I could inspire some more D in people.

I also had to prepare a case that would then be explored throughout the course. This was a great way to start using some of the terrific tools like the Prosci Project Change Triangle, which makes you really consider if you have the right balance of leadership, project management and change management to successfully execute a project.

The night before Day 1

  • Checked in to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Set in the Canadian Rockies it is an entirely inspiring place to learn
  • -10C, swam in the outdoor pool, steam rising, listening to the rocky mountains and the stars that were staring back at me
  • 6pm – meet and greet – and quickly realized that this felt like being in an Executive MBA class with seasoned professionals who were ready to both learn and question this change management thing
  • Our superb instructor immediately established her credibility by authentically connecting with each student, and as I felt truly listened to I realized that this instructor was not just there to teach but also to model great leadership behaviours that I could learn from

Day 1

ROI – One of he most important things that I learned on the first day is that Prosci has taken the time to build a substantial, statistically based rationale for doing change management in organizations from a return-on-investment perspective. We all get the premise that if your people are on board your project will be more profitable. But how do you get a CEO or senior leader to pay for change management?

The next pitch that I’m involved in I will pull out these new value driving tools to demonstrate that projects get done faster and have a longer lasting effectiveness if you prepare for and execute on the people side of things.

WIIFM – What’s In It For Me – understanding that your staff are basically a bunch of self-centred individuals (for better or for worse) is a great reminder for any effective leader. Our excellent instructor also added another version of this acronym which is WIIFE – What’s In It For the Executives – which was a great reminder about who is really making the decisions and why.

After drinking as much as we could from the Prosci ‘fire hose’ of knowledge on the first day, we then moved on to our evening activity – a tasty team building ‘surprise’ that was an absolute delight and gave all of us a chance to get to know each other better.

Day 2

Day 2 started with a friendly review of day 1, Jeopardy style. Then we re-learned our ABC’s, as in; for a change to be successful the leader must be Active and visible throughout the process – he should Build a strong coalition to support and sustain the change – and he ultimately must ensure that Communication is as effective as possible throughout the process.

I really appreciated this quick, condensed short hand description that I could immediately apply to my own consulting practice as I help leaders to optimize their approach.

Our instructor also pointed out that pro-active change management can also help a project avoid a future full of RE’s like Re-Training, Re-Starting, Re-Funding etc. In addition we learned a bunch of useful communication tools including ‘Myth Busters’ – when you address rumours head on and sort out the truth in face-to-face meetings with employees and managers.

Dinner on Day 2 was exquisite. We then enjoyed another ‘surprise’ activity that gleefully brought out the secret rapper/rock stars in all of us!

Day 3

As the mountain of information, tools and tips grew I realized how significant this experience was becoming. Professionally I was being armed with the ability to make a difference in organizations in a structured, results oriented manner.

Personally I could no longer put the lid back on my Pandora’s box of excuses. I had been shown an indisputable way to make positive changes in my own life. Now the hard work of converting knowledge into action would begin.

One of the most important lessons (of dozens) for me on Day 3 occurred when our instructor re-arranged the word L-I-S-T-E-N into the word S-I-L-E-N-T. I remember when I was receiving annual reviews as an employee that I would always put ‘listening’ as the number one skill that I wanted to work on.

But the reminder that great listening requires exceptional silence helped me to deepen my understanding of this critical leadership skill. It is just one more tool that I will take forward to create ‘AHA’ moments for the leaders that I work with.

The day ended with a brief exam, many well-meant good-byes and the opportunity to stay professionally connected to some people that I had only just met a few days ago.


A friend of mine works in a public school in Edmonton. At this school they use a structured ‘FranklinCovey’ approach as a base to help students and teachers communicate effectively with each other.

For example, my friend overheard two grade 2 kids saying to each other, “Are we in a win-win situation right now?” as they sorted out who got to be first in line. It was a multi-year, common language investment that was now paying huge dividends for the whole school.

I feel that the real value that I have gained from doing the 3-Day Prosci Change Management Certification Program lies in the structured methodology that helps individuals to achieve organizational goals while they work on a project.

I also know that it is a set of tools that combines well with my experience as a professional meeting facilitator and consultant, so now I will be even more effective as I help leaders and their organizations to succeed.

For more Change Management Expertise visit:

Prosci –

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Gordon Sheppard

Gordon Sheppard is a Leadership Coach, Consultant, Facilitator, Online Training Expert, Author, and Podcaster. He helps business leaders get the information, advice and inspiration they need to be successful. He is also the CEO of Business Expert Solutions Inc.

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