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Here’s a pre-Masie quiz for you: how is organizational change sometimes like an extended family vacation gone horribly wrong?

Picture this.

You have a large family of various ages, interests and incomes, some who live with you and some who don’t, some who live nearby and some who are significantly farther flung. To build stronger ties and create a more cohesive family unit, why not organize a big expensive vacation in an exotic place where none of them has ever been?

You set to work, picking a departure date, purchasing airline tickets, and arranging accommodations. You send word to meet at your house for an important announcement. Then you spring the plan on them and demand that the entire group be ready to leave right now.

Sure, some people have conflicts or other obligations. Others just hate to travel. They grumble, they gripe, they resist. There’s crying, and a few walk away in a huff.

What, you wonder, is wrong with these people? Surely, you reason, they’ll be more appreciative once the vacation actually begins.

But nooooooo

Cousin Mattie gets anxious in crowds. Uncle Leo, the recovering alcoholic, has settled in at the bar. Your sister’s new outfit would have been fabulous here, except no one told her to bring it. Mom can’t negotiate the stairs and won’t take the elevator, and Dad just wants to watch TV.

Not one of your relatives is taking advantage of the adventure or even the weather. You decide you must have the worst, most ungrateful family in the world.

But let’s look at it another way.

With perfectly good intentions, you made a well-thought-out plan. But because you didn’t prepare any of the participants for their journey or their destination, they became uncooperative, unhappy and resentful. Why?

Because you didn’t manage their expectations.

You didn’t ask for input. You didn’t share information that would have helped them get ready. You’re not even making improvements now that it’s underway. You simply thrust them into unfamiliar territory without the supplies, support and snorkel gear they needed to succeed.

It’s not that they were unwilling to make a change. It’s that you didn’t present the change in a palatable way.

Likewise, any significant organizational change requires people to make major behavioral changes both individually and collectively – not only in the ways they perform specific processes but also in how they operate, interact, collaborate, learn, adjust, and share. So it’s just not fair to impose change from the top down and ignore the “people” aspects that will inevitably result.

Not only is it unfair, it sets them – and you – up for failure.

Learning to change is never an easy task. As professionals in the learning industry, we are charged with finding ways to make it easier for people to accept and adjust to change. That’s why, at Masie Learning 2012, SAP Education explores how Learning is Changing. Through the lens of today’s social learning revolution, we have unprecedented opportunities to access the newest approaches, test the newest tools, and experiment with the newest techniques, led by the industry’s thought leaders and trendsetters.

I’m not saying it will be a vacation. But it will be a welcome change. Register today @