The Changing Ways of Training

Picture from behind of Union Gas employees being trained

Training is a key pillar of the safety culture at Union Gas. Operational safety is especially important.

Anita Chiappetta and Michele Knoll, who help train field workers for Union Gas, took the opportunity to sit down and discuss innovations in e-learning strategies.

The pair discussed the company’s e-learning corporate strategy and how this paradigm shift is going to benefit everyone going forward.

Female union gas employee being trained while others watch from behind

The ‘Magic’ of Change Management Explained

Lisa Peseski, manager of Change Management at Union Gas, has been busy the past few years. Lisa is helping to ensure the integration of Union Gas and Enbridge Gas Distribution is effective in a time of change.

But Change Management is much more than just the bigger picture of integration – it’s a fundamental change in the way to do things, allowing people to “embrace change more quickly creating a nimble organization that can respond to market changes, adopt new technology or implement regulatory requirements with less of a productivity impact than its competitors,” Lisa explains.

Lisa thinks that Change Management should happen with not many people noticing that it’s actually happening. It’s like “magic,” she says.

We sat down with Lisa and asked her a few questions about Change Management’s origins and how companies can benefit from it.

Q: What is Organizational Change Management?

Lisa Peseski: To best understand what Organizational Change Management (OCM) is, it is easiest to explain how it became a discipline. During the era of “re-engineering” organizations changed systems and processes for greater efficiency – very often through large IT-based projects. Highly capable project managers led these projects focused on the technical side of system and process change.  All too often the full benefits of costly re-engineering were not realized. Through the due diligence of conducting lessons learned a recurring theme emerged: we had forgotten about the “people side” of the equation. Change management grew out of this question – “What must people do differently for this change to stick?”

To answer this, we looked to all the theory around the dynamics of people in the workplace from the Organizational Development (OD) field. But that was not the complete solution. The theoretical aspects of OD needed a practical vehicle that aligned with project management. Organizations like PROSCI brought all the rigour of the project management discipline providing structured processes and tactics to help prepare, equip and support people to make organizational change stick.

Portrait of Lisa

Q: What is the goal of Organizational Change Management?

The goal is simple – make the strategic promise a reality.  There are three levers that OCM operates to do this.

The first is a focus on individual change adoption. Understanding how people experience and are influenced during change and continually finding ways to influence that moment of truth where people choose between how “I did things before” and “how I will do things now.”

The second is much the same as the first but working within the realm of a project using plans to help ensure employees receive the awareness, leadership, coaching, and training they need to make change stick.

The third area can be a real strategic advantage for an organization; this is to have change agility as a core competency. Here the OCM function partners with talent management to build overall change proficiency in the organization; the result being that people embrace change more quickly, creating a nimble organization that can respond to market changes, adopt new technology or implement regulatory requirements with less of a productivity impact than its competitors.

Q: How does Union Gas and Enbridge Gas Distribution apply Change Management?

OCM is embedded within the Talent Management Centre of Expertise. It is a small team that focuses on two areas: project-based change leadership and strategic capability. Our project-based support varies from providing project managers with scaleable toolkits, coaching an assigned change lead or leading the change management track of a project. As part of a centre of expertise, we partner with talent programming and human resources advisory and business partners to build overall change proficiency.

Q: Do you think there is more evolution in the field of Change Management or in Change Management at Enbridge?

Absolutely – and this is why I love my job. Our company is transforming to position ourselves for a lower carbon economy in a challenging economic and regulatory environment. The challenges we face will not be met with nicely boxed technical fixes. They are adaptive challenges. They make us rethink change as a temporary state.  It’s a shift in the mindset of “get-this-change-over-with-so-we-can-get-to-business-as-usual,” to a “change-is-business-as-usual” mindset.  We need to learn how to adjust to constant change in order to stay on course. The great news is that at Enbridge OCM team is well placed to help with this.  Sitting in a strategic arm of Human Resources, part of Talent Management and within a centre of expertise, we have the freedom to set the foundation for enterprise-wide change agility.

Lisa with her daughter

Q: How do you explain what you do to your kids?

My kids are obsessed with the TV show Friends featuring Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Joey, Ross, and Chandler.  So I tell them I have a “Chandler Bing” job.  No one really “gets” what he did and if he were to talk about it, the gang was instantly bored.  If I explained my work as “A field that evolved from Organizational….” I’d be watching them fall asleep. For my youngest, Claire, I describe Change Management as a little like magic. One minute the dime is between the magician’s fingers, the next it’s gone. Then it’s behind your ear! Change practitioners or “magicians” help companies move that “dime” – program, software, or even culture from where it is now to where it needs to be in the future.

And if we do it well, people aren’t too distracted by the process. Everyone who shortly suspended their belief to watch the show knows that it wasn’t magic, but a method. At the same time, they are a little in awe at how it worked. That’s organizational change magic.