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Message from the Chair: Three Practices for Embracing Change

Last year’s ICE Exchange held in New Orleans included many interesting and diverse topics, great networking sessions and motivating keynotes. An interesting theme I noticed was the number of sessions that included an innovation or digital concept – Online Learning, Remote Item Writing, Digital Credentials, Technology-Enhanced Assessments and Using Graphic Visualization, just to name a few. These sessions, in my opinion, hit the mark in helping us think out-of-the box and embrace new developments in our industry.

Having an IT background, I enjoyed hearing about these new technological advancements and industry developments, which resulted in a reflection on how much change the credentialing business has experienced over the last several years. Less than five years ago, my organization was still primarily delivering paper and pencil exams, and we now have world-wide testing on a computer-based testing platform.

Credentialing Insights, this new, online destination where ICE content – articles, images, interviews and more – will live, is an evolution of the quarterly publication ICE Digest and a prime example of how technology is affecting change in our industry. Knowing the ICE community is rich with insight and stories to tell, we launched this site to share content more frequently, in a central location that will make it easier to consume and communicate with each other online. We hope you visit often, share articles to spark conversations and consider this your online home for the latest in credentialing news and insights.

With the digital world permeating all aspects of our environment and requiring us to think differently about our business processes, how can we better prepare ourselves for understanding and managing change – not only technology changes, but changes from industry advancements and human behaviors?

When preparing for my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, change management was a key element in the body of knowledge for which I needed to understand and demonstrate Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs), particularly as it related to organizational change management. However, the personal aspects of change – being open to continually embracing “the new” so you can be a change agent in your organization can be a somewhat daunting task to overcome. Starting small and doing your own personal environmental scan can help generate a level of intrinsic interest and build an affinity to affect and participate in change.

In my experience, I have found three practices that have helped me be more open and prepared to participate in the changes required to evolve the credentialing business for today’s market needs. 

Customer Feedback

Customers and members are a great source of feedback on what they need from the organization to stay engaged. An annual member or customer needs survey, like the one ICE conducts, is a great way to stay in touch, watch trends develop and identify changes needed to address market demand. For example, if your organization only provides customer service hours from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST, yet a large international constituency has voiced their need for out-of-hours customer service, perhaps lengthening service hours would be a welcome change. If your organization has a membership component, member exit surveys, monitoring social media and tracking trends from incoming calls and emails are also great ways to consider minor business adjustments that could yield positive results. 

Personal Awareness

Be aware of your own personal needs and explore how those behaviors intersect with your job and organization. For example, the “Amazon effect” – enabled by one-click purchasing and overnight delivery –has many of us programmed for immediate gratification. And if you now use your phone or iPad more than a computer to view webpages, you have developed an appreciation for responsive design which allows web pages to be viewed more effectively on small computer devices. In the last year, ICE recently completed a large project to transition the ICE website to a responsive design to address changes in how people now prefer to access information. 

What behaviors, like responsive web pages and simple purchasing processes, are important to you that could indicate opportunities for improvement in your organization? 

Community Engagement

And finally, become more engaged with your professional community through industry conferences, webinars and online communities. They help to open the mind to new ideas and create opportunities to bring back innovative concepts to your organization. Develop a professional network with whom you could ask questions and seek feedback. Explore information on what worked and what didn’t work (that’s important, too!) and share your personal experiences with others. Your professional community and network can be a great source of ideas and support as you consider the unique, the unfamiliar and the new.

What experiences have you had leading or participating in an organizational change; what innovations have you championed or roadblocks have you encountered? Are you interested in sharing these thoughts in an article on Credentialing Insights? I would love to hear from you. Please email me anytime at lsallstrom@apics.org.

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