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Change and Change Management

 Change was once a discrete event with a beginning, middle, and end. At the end things got back to “normal.”

Today, change is a constant; multiple changes happen simultaneously with no “normal” in sight. Change can carry companies and their employees toward a successful future, or into a limbo of change for changes’ sake, or even into oblivion.

So what determines a company’s fate?

The successful organization:

  • Is agile and responsive; taking advantage of changes in markets, technologies, and processes
  • Plans for change and knows what changes to make and how to make that change happen
  • Builds a high tolerance for change, and continuously improves its change management capabilities

Change is not the enemy. It can unlock the possibilities for future success. As a student of change for almost four decades, I have watched change move from an isolated event, to a constant for many of my clients. And without a comprehensive change management strategy there is little hope for a future.

Like so many important business concepts, change management has become trivialized and diluted by being given a multitude of meanings. Change management loses its impact and usefulness without the proper tools to understand and practice it.

What change management IS and IS NOT

  • Change management IS . . . The methodology that hardwires change and the ability to adapt it into the organization. It includes applying change-related research and experience in a systematic way to every business project. It means building systematic thought about change into every business decision. It requires organizing this knowledge about change into a repeatable, teachable framework that is constantly refined and improved. Changes become an integral part of the way companies work and the springboard for more and constant change.
  • Change management is NOT . . . training. It is not communication. It is not process analysis and re-design. Change management is a key competency that must be built into the very fabric of the company; a structured methodology that incorporates training, communication, listening, and process analysis and re-design. It is a way of thinking that becomes part of defining the organization.

In what ways do you think about change management differently today than in the past? 

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