I good friend, expert in Communications, has created her new website with a prominent quote of mine, ‘Change Management as we know it is dead’ in the middle of the page. A sort of funerary announcement lies bare at the center of an otherwise beautiful minimalist site.
And that is true. It’s dead.
Trouble is, in some quarters a death certificate has not been signed yet. It’s a tricky situation. There are resistances. Some people say, what should we do now? What would we do with all those powerpoints full of multicolour boxes explaining the logic of those 8 steps, or 10, or whatever?
Here are some reflections for future management necro-archeologists.
- No revolution I know has ever hired change management consultants.
- In ‘change management’ one of the two words is redundant.
- ‘Change management’ has been kidnapped several times: IT people, Big Consulting, and Culture people to quote some.
- Change management has been very often indistinguishable from project management and programme management, elevating the confusion to a high level.
- I don’t recall the move from childhood to puberty, to puberty to adolescent, ever being called ‘change management’.
- Communications professionals/agencies/divisions/functions have called themselves ‘change management’ and fooled customers with almost little resistance. So they kept going with the promise.
- ‘Change management’ never explained what is ‘not for change ‘in a change management programme that changes things.
- Small detail, there is no change unless there is behavioural change. That disqualifies tons of ‘change management programmes’
- I have never found one single practical idea on real behavioural change in the myriad of PowerPoints and White Papers by Big Consulting which I have examined for the last twenty years. For Big Consulting, behavioural change is an after thought. A byproduct. A naive expectation of something naturally occurring as a result of the process, systems and organization chart change.
- ‘Change management’ told us how to go from A to Z in several sequential steps. It never told us how to learn how to do it. Or whether Z could be a place where no more change management was needed, having learnt change-ability. Or how to avoid the problems that led us to the need to go to Z in the first place. Or what kind of culture Z is. Or why is it that 75% of cases are a fiasco. Or…
A ‘discipline’ that applies to anything from cost cutting to value deployment, from CRM installation to culture change, or from process improvement to M&A, can’t be serious.
OK this is academic now, because it’s dead.