Change management – a means to an end

April 15, 2010
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I was on conference call today and someone noted,

“I am still at the point where I’m trying to convince people that change management is necessary, let alone which model to use. Leadership’s response to our request for time to help manage the change was: this change is going ahead no matter what, so we don’t need change management.”

My response to this question is that we as change practitioners should not even try to convince people that change management is necessary. Change management is a means to an end. Change management is a set of tools and practices and frankly your management team likely doesn’t give a damn about the tools and practices. They care about the end result. To use an analogy, organizations don’t care about project management, they care about shipping projects on time, managing resources, staying within budget, and delivering products and services that meet customers’ needs so much so that they are willing to pay for those products and services. The same thing holds true for change management.

If you are aligned on the goals, objectives, and end result of the change, the how is less important. Granted, mature, fine tuned organizations recognize that how

I was on conference call today and someone noted,

“I am still at the point where I’m trying to convince people that change management is necessary, let alone which model to use. Leadership’s response to our request for time to help manage the change was: this change is going ahead no matter what, so we don’t need change management.”

My response to this question is that we as change practitioners should not even try to convince people that change management is necessary. Change management is a means to an end. Change management is a set of tools and practices and frankly your management team likely doesn’t give a damn about the tools and practices. They care about the end result. To use an analogy, organizations don’t care about project management, they care about shipping projects on time, managing resources, staying within budget, and delivering products and services that meet customers’ needs so much so that they are willing to pay for those products and services. The same thing holds true for change management.

If you are aligned on the goals, objectives, and end result of the change, the how is less important. Granted, mature, fine tuned organizations recognize that how you achieve the end result reduces thrashing, fosters employee commitment, and increases productivity. Those organizations already understand the value of powerful tools and practices. If you’re not in an organization like that, don’t talk tools and practices, talk goals, objectives, and results and you’ll be able to have the necessary conversation with your leadership team.

Workshop Update

I’m headed to Seattle and Washington D.C. in June to facilitate Lead Change by Design workshops.  In partnership with Holger Nauheimer, CEO of Change Facilitation s.r.o., Lead Change by Design and The Change Journey imbue much needed creativity and a fresh perspective into the stagnant field of change management and translate it into a powerful set of tools for creating and sustaining organizational change.