Change and champions in TWI rollout: A three-phrase approach

Maureen Conway

Implementing any new training system requires changing culture. We are all aware of the effects – the good, the bad, and the ugly – that change can bring. But experienced leaders know that change, when handled with communication and top-level support, can be exciting and makes a culture more productive and profitable.

Change is the centerpiece of organizational development. To gain higher profitability as well as grow and develop a culture of employee satisfaction, leaders must embrace and plan change. Planned change is needed for a successful introduction and implementation of Training Within Industry (TWI) programs in any company.

The late social psychologist Kurt Lewin promotes a three-phase approach to change for strategic planning: unfreezing, moving and freezing.

In the initial unfreezing stage, facilitators engage employees in change activities. Communication and internal marketing plans are essential for the success of this stage. A Management Overview Session of TWI also is a good activity at this stage of the rollout to introduce the change to come and gain buy-in. (This Management Overview Session is a dedicated meeting in which the J-Programs are introduced with features and benefits. The aim is to not only educate management to TWI, but also to gain buy-in and championship.)

During the moving process, change actually occurs. With TWI, this shift involves delivering TWI seminars for a new approach to work and relationships, and following up on their use at work. Portal space for Q&A and general introduction of the TWI programs is a great practice at this phase as well.

During the freezing stage, the organization becomes comfortable with the new learning processes of TWI. Rollout activities at this phase might include gathering metrics, publishing success stories, blog activities and general state-of-TWI meetings. (Lewin, K., “Frontiers in Group Dynamics”, 1947)

So, how does this change theory convert to real activities in your company as you implement TWI?

Survey results have shown that top-down support for a TWI implementation roll-out is critical. Experienced implementers concur. You need a top-level champion. This champion first assists with the planning and “socializing” of TWI within the company. The champion also serves as an advocate as the program hits potholes on the rollout highway – i.e., breaks down barriers and sets things right. Third, the champion serves a major role in pulling together the right players – including C-level decision-makers – for the Management Overview Session and any labor-relations meetings. Finally, the top-level champion is needed to convey program outcomes at the C-level as they positively impact financials, employee relations and facilities/equipment/resources allocations at budget time.
Additional parts of this article series will focus on implementation strategies for setting metrics for return on investment for TWI training. 

About the author:
Maureen Conway holds a Ph.D. in organizational development from the University of Illinois and holds a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) designation from the American Society for Training and Development. An industry practitioner, she is managing director of CEG Inc., a full-service TWI provider of Training Within Industry – JR, JI and JM seminars for managers and supervisors as well strategic implementation planning services for companies. She can be reached at

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