Management of change or change of management

Regardless of our inner desire to enjoy stability and predictability we have surely reached a universal acknowledgment that any person, organization, industry or even country is going at any moment through some kind of change.  Changes can be sudden events created by external and independent factors or can be the deliberate actions taken to better achieve or simply survive in the future.  Changes can be subtle and only slightly irritating or abrupt and disruptive.  Changes can and do bring the best or the worst in people, companies, or industries.

Change is a test, sometimes an acid test, of our will and capability to adapt.  Even if some prefer to optimistically label changes as opportunities the fact of the matter is that changes always present an abundance of serious risks.
The tools or methodologies of change management ride bravely to the rescue – all ready and eager to prevent, mitigate and hopefully take off the burden and the costs of changes.  All defined and sold as reasonable concepts, consistent logic, and wonderful premises for overwhelming success.

 

Why then so many changes fail?  Failure is often transparent in the financial statements or market share.  Such visibility may bring down entire management teams.  However most changes, even if proven successful in the annual reports, can have a lingering effect of bitterness that is manifest only inside the closed doors of corporations.  It is a fact that people do not embrace change eagerly without a reason and/or a purpose.  And the change planned by management and executed by the rest may not accommodate each individual agenda.  But this is an unavoidable price to pay.

What is though avoidable and very detrimental is the lack of change of management.  Consultants or internal change agents never really advocate for changes of management for obvious (contract or employment) reasons.  What would they freely say is such impediments would vanish?

  1. Management team membership could/should be changed. The top or middle managers’ true agenda may be a real show stopper and the amount of time and energy devoted to appease their opposition may overcome the benefits.
  2. Management style could/should be changed. New processes, new markets, or new allocations of responsibilities (i.e. remote work) could/should impose a whole new framework of expectations, supervision, control, and compensation packages
  3. Management cohesion/consistency could/should be maintained at all times (favorable or not) by careful and honest alignment of all top-down messaging – whether delivered in public or closed circuit.
  4. Management role could/should not be incorrectly estimated and/or played. Changes do require genuine and sometimes difficult leadership and management should step up to the challenge if their wish for staff engagement is to come true.  Micro-management, bureaucracy, delays in decision making, or persistent endearment of “good old” rules should indeed be promptly sanctioned and corrected.

 

Should these cactus-like pieces of advice be ignored changes can jeopardize the benefits of the whole exercise or the very existence of the company and turn against the organization, its staff, and ultimately against its management.  Or.. maybe some magic will happen.

Leave a comment

/*-------------------------------------------------- COMMENT FORM CODE ---------------------------------------------------*/ jQuery(document).ready(function($){ $(".comment-list li").addClass("comment"); $("#comment-form").addClass("form"); $("#comment-form #submit").addClass("submit"); $("#reply-title").addClass("title"); $("#reply-title").after("

Make sure you fill in all mandatory fields.

") });