Who is Your Champion?

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Dear Certified Instructors,


I'd like to begin my letter to you with a quote that has quickly become my motto: "As has been shown in a variety of settings, the 'train-and-hope' approach to implementation does not appear to work" (Fixsen, Naoom, Blase, Friedman, & Wallace, 2005). While I took this quote from an article by the National Implementation Research Network written in 2005, the original "train and hope" quote was in use in 1977. Already then, there was an accepted understanding that successful implementation required much more than a one-time training event for staff.

According to the National Implementation Research Network, there are three main outcomes of implementation:

  1. A change in organizational culture;
  2. A change in adult professional behavior; and
  3. A change in relationship to consumers and/or stakeholders.

However, to accomplish these outcomes the organization must commit to training staff as an ongoing process. CPI has long recognized the importance of implementation, and in 2004 created my position of Associate Director of Implementation to focus on assisting Certified Instructors with teaching their first program—followed by a second—and to assist with overcoming barriers to successful implementation of training as an ongoing process.


Culture Change
As noted above, true implementation leads to a culture change. In the case of the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® program, Care, Welfare, Safety, and SecuritySM is no longer just a philosophy of a training program, but becomes the foundation of the organization's mission, values, and methods of providing care. The need for, and use of, restraint and seclusion is significantly reduced and even eliminated in some instances. Violence and coercion become organizational history. For some of you, this has already occurred. For others, you may wonder, "How in the world . . . ?"


Do not be discouraged, as the purpose of this letter is to introduce a column aimed at providing tips for successful implementation that will appear in upcoming issues of the Instructor Forum.


Of course I won't leave you hanging until next time without one small tip—perhaps it's the most integral tip of all. You decide. But it is what I have found to be the absolute in every successful case study. This tip is to gain "ownership" at the administrative or leadership level. Someone at that level needs to "champion the cause." As Certified Instructors, you (like it or not) have become change agents in your organization. This change will be more easily achieved when the idea is owned from the top down. I hear regularly from Instructors that they have the "support" of their administration, but they are still floundering to provide meaningful training to their staff or to change the culture of care. "Support" is usually described to me as some financial support, support in giving staff the time off from their regular job duties to attend training, maybe even support shown by attending the training program.

Ownership may look a little different. Ownership is demonstrated when that leader/administrator is the first person to attend the course, speaks the language of the program, and reinforces policy development and alignment with the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® program philosophy. Ownership is demonstrated by not only freeing staff to attend the course, but by mandating (and enforcing) annual refreshers, practice and review sessions, and setting aside funding to send Instructors to advanced trainings needed to further tailor the program to meet organizational needs. Ownership is demonstrated in the identification and empowerment of "champions" or "coaches" at all levels of the organization, and by being present with staff in the crisis moment from time to time to support them. Ownership is demonstrated by mandating debriefing and data collection, and using that data to affect your organization's decision-making process.


Certified Instructors often take great ownership of the program and of the Training Process. Their barrier comes into play when they are not in a position of power at the organization to really affect the change. So, whether you are a new Certified Instructor or a seasoned veteran looking to take your Training Process to the next level, I ask you—who owns the program at the leadership level? Who can you approach to champion the newest "Restraint Elimination (or Reduction) Initiative" at your organization? Who will assist you with eliminating violence and coercion in your organization's culture?


My best wishes to you in identifying your champions! If you can't wait for the next column to see if I answer your implementation questions, or if you feel like you are "training and hoping," please don't hesitate to contact me, any of our Directors, or our Global Professional Instructors at the CPI Workplace Learning Team toll-free phone number (877.877.5390). You can also email kstea@crisisprevention.com or instructor@crisisprevention.com.


Until next time—with warm regards,
Kendra L. Stea, MS, NCC
Associate Director of Implementation and Planning


Fixsen, D.L., Naoom, S. F., Blase, Karen A., Friedman, R. M., and Wallace, F. (2005). Implementation Research: A Synthesis of the Literature. Retrieved December 12, 2005.


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