A frequent complaint, or lament, in various versions that comes to me from both business and IT people is: My organization doesn’t handle change well; my organization doesn’t like change; my organization won’t change; my boss fears change; etc.
We can smooth the sale for any specific, necessary, change by defining and selling the benefits of effective change – paired with the risk of inertia. Just as importantly, we expose the rising risk and rising cost of ineffective change management – that is, so-called change management that becomes complacent – in an overall world environment of accelerating change.
We can say that change should be an easy “sell” because, if you think about it, you’re going to “buy” some kind of change whether you plan to or not. Change is a default setting – you can’t uncheck a box and remain static in any endeavor. You’re going to acquire change no matter what position you’re in, and you’ll either change as a reaction to other changes, or you’ll lead your necessary changes. As the world at large is going to force you to “buy” changes, you want to buy (to identify, lead, and emplace) the best changes – you don’t want any difficult (reactive) buys. You must get into a position to leverage that default change dynamic to your advantage. And so Change Management is a discipline – and that discipline is exercised on an ongoing basis, if only to stay abreast of what is upcoming, and making sure to implement necessary changes at favorable times to the organization based on such things as business cycles, travel, new products and methods, other changes, and so on.
It is important to understand the environment that carries change to its successful destination. We can have the best BIT team (business implementation team) in the world, identifying all necessary and correct change – but what happens if even prudent, appropriately sized, change is improperly managed? What if we attempt to change too fast? What if some elements of the organization aren’t ready? What if BIT misses some important ‘where we are’ factors?
We need a close interaction of Technology and Business within our Weave to ensure a basic understanding from both directions in defining, tracking and managing change. Further, this interaction goes beyond management and BIT. This involves the whole of the organization and its associations: staff; vendors and contractors; frequently clients and customers… Too often, change is planned and discussed in the crucible of some rarified group who view change as a secret, to then be announced and dropped like a bomb. The group often views change as scary to the organization, and therefore tends to be draconian in planning, communicating and rolling out change. The higher-ups in the organization sometimes figure that change is a difficult sell (believing that most people fear and do not like change), and therefore the bulk of the organization is predisposed to not buying change. This isn’t necessarily so, and change can be an easy sell.
In order to make change an easy sell, we must have a basic understanding of change in simplest terms, and from anyone’s perspective…
Next – Change: The Basics