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What I Learned From Teaching Change Management In China


Even though it takes close to 14 hours to travel the more than 6,500 miles from Detroit Metro Airport to Beijing, as it turns out, that distance isn’t as significant as you might first think.

LaMarsh Global recently conducted change management training in Beijing, China through a successful Managed Change™ Agent Certification session. To bridge the language barrier, we went to great lengths to ensure our materials were translated and that we had a translator with us throughout the certification session to ensure that all were able communicate effectively. Logically, it seems we all know change can be very hard for many people. However, I was surprised to learn just how very similar people and organizational struggles with change are regardless of location, upbringing, national politics or history. In my experience, it sometimes appears to bring organizations some sense of comfort to believe that their issues and challenges are different from others in our international community. I’m not sure that’s always best. Yes, if we look hard enough, we can always find something that differentiates us from others, but my recent experience in China highlighted for me how alike we all really are and that there important lessons we can learn from these similarities.

I first noticed that the complexities of the world and our ever expanding global economy are just as confusing to Chinese national organizations as they are to US based companies. I also learned that the unprecedented times we live in, resulting from unlimited access to information and on-going technological advancements, are creating a never before seen commercial landscape that demands more consistent and extensive changes be made with people with ever shortening attention spans. These issues are causing the same challenges in two different countries on two different continents thousands of miles apart — and elsewhere I’m sure.


From a change management perspective, these challenges highlight an ever-increasing need to bring clarity to Desired States for organizations which, in many cases, are creating their futures as they go. In addition, the speed with which changes are happening often requires significant changes to Desired States before they are ever actually achieved. These changes occurring in organizations today are so profound that having project teams with dedicated team leadership and membership for each change that is being undertaken often isn’t practical or possible. As a result, the skills needed to successfully manage change are also critical to everyone beyond Change Agents.

Thankfully, the Managed Change™ Model & Methodology translates well into any environment and is scalable to any size change or any type of change.

It was great that our Beijing session was attended by experienced human resources (HR) professionals. One of the commonalities among participants was the role they are expected to play in organizational change. Many of the change initiatives they have been tasked with are driven by business strategy, competitors, products and services, governmental regulations, and other challenges introduced by this ever evolving business landscape. Thankfully, the Managed Change™ Model & Methodology translates well into any environment and is scalable to any size change or any type of change.

One tool participants were very interested in is the Fishbone of Changes, because they were not familiar with a tool that would help leadership to understand the true complexity of the changes that their organizations were undertaking. It seemed like each person was keen on being able to help leaders understand the Delta State from the point of view of specific Target groups. They indicated that, like many of our clients in the west, their leaders typically only look at changes from the top of the organization down and don’t really consider what decisions they are making look like through the eyes of Targets or how those decisions are impacting the organization’s true ability to meet its current commitments.

Another great tool that resonated with our Beijing friends is the Key Role Map. Participants described their leaders, and how they typically behave relative to introducing change into their organizations, in much the same way as other clients before being introduced to the benefits of Managed Change ™ — meaning good change sponsorship and good change Sponsor skills need to be developed in Chinese organizations just as they do elsewhere. And while this experience in Beijing lead me to believe that there may not be as big of a call for change management professionals over there as there is here in the US, everyone was very clear that the need for successful change management is strong. Participants were able to name just as many failed or compromised changes as other employees, and while they believe change is an accepted way of life in the China; successful, sustainable organizational change isn’t happening to the degree that’s needed.

Good change sponsorship and good change Sponsor skills need to be developed in Chinese organizations just as they do elsewhere.

Overall, the Managed Change ™ Model & Methodology easily translates to any language, culture and change, and the basic issues and challenges resulting from rapid, complex and ever increasing organizational change are universal. In the end, the tenets of change management with Managed Change™ can be applied successfully around the globe.

Email Deborah directly for more information on customizing a LaMarsh Global change management training and learning event for your organization. 



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This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Hi Deborah

    Congrats! Thank you for sharing your experience.

    Excellent way to confirm that regardless of Geography, race and nationality Organization Readiness, Drivers and Capability are critical components to successfully Manage Change.

    Kind regards


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