Rethink Change - the highlights

Levelling up Change Management: Some themes from the 2024 Rethink Change Conference 

The 2024 Rethink Change Conference was a vibrant hub of ideas, expert knowledge and broad experiences, coming together for attendees to consider and challenge the current state. The event sparked conversations on how change practitioners can play an active part in the evolution of change management practices, highlighting the potential contributions and considerations of AI, new frameworks, and mindsets in this evolution.

Levelling up of change – in self

Both Sharon Connolly and Dr. Jen Frahm spoke about our own mindset shifts – emphasizing our belief in ourselves (superheroes!), our shift from engagement to empathy with others, thinking as a beginner or startup, and prioritizing progress over perfection. These shifts are the cornerstone of cultivating our practice in change. 

Levelling up of change – in practices

There were common threads of shifting from strict methodologies to frameworks that guide thinking. Cherie Mylordis introduced the ‘3D’ framework with purpose-driven change, to dream big (Dare), scrap what holds us back (Ditch), and amplify successful strategies (Dial). Meanwhile, Jenn Zuber and Vicky-Kerry Orrford shared their application of the ‘cumulative change impost heatmap’ from the 3PR framework, which provides a collective ‘impost’ (rather than impact) of portfolio change beyond gut feel for sense-making.

Another theme for the practice of change was deeper involvement in benefits realization. Many speakers emphasized the need to quantify benefits, articulate value, measure success and maximize the impact of change.

Levelling up of change – in operating environment

On the human side, Jenn Zuber and Vicky-Kerry Offord, Sharon Connolly, and Lisa Carlin each warned of the effects of ever-increasing change fatigue in organizations. With related psychosocial hazards now part of Australian WHS legislation, change management will play a visible role in supporting organizations manage these risks. 

On the technology side, AI was clearly on everyone’s minds, and the AI panel session went deep in overall AI application, but served up familiar conclusions for change. Max Theseira advocated that AI should always align to strategic goals. Lauren Ryder emphasized to know the problem first; AI might not be the solution. For Ali Juma, ‘context is king!’ while inspiring us that AI isn’t here to take jobs, but to supercharge our skills. Take on the beginner’s mindset, as championed in earlier sessions.

The ‘2024 Rethink Change’ conference served as a catalyst for reimagining the change management profession, at every level of the practitioner experience. With the calibre of speakers and attendees, I’m excited to see next year’s conference showcasing many insightful journeys through mindset shifts, practices and application of AI as we evolve and elevate the field of change management.

Written: Rebecca King