Has the change management concept expired

Has the change management concept expired

Posted by Torben Rick | March 15, 2017 | Change Management
Has the change management concept expired

Change management is an outdated concept – Time to replace change management

Can change approaches keep pace with an absolutely complex, fast-moving and ever changing world

Based on the article Time to say goodbye to change” there have been a lot of discussion in various LinkedIn groups. The many responses included rich and varied perspectives and opinions on change management, its meaning and importance.

Below several distinctive views, illustrated by direct quotes from the LinkedIn discussion threads – unfortunately it was not possible to acknowledge everyone who made helpful contribution:

Annicken R. Day

Well said, Torben ! Building cultures that embrace and thrive on change, is the best investment business leaders can make in a world in constant flux!

Mike Gibson

Couldn’t agree more. Seeking continuous improvement should be part of business as usual and intelligent mature organizations understand this.

Mikael Sørensen

I like this article. We are making continuous changes to our environment and organizations today. I think that the problem is to be sufficient change ready and then be able to deal with changes in an agile and cognitive way. Change management tends to be the problem in terms of achieving sufficient thru put to meet increasing business demands.

Clare Carre

Yes please, the word seems to conjure an image that it has a start and an end. People lose heart when it keeps going!

Michael Egan:

Thanks Torben for triggering a lively and well needed discussion here, great to see a wide range of shared perspectives.

I agree the term is confusing (in my specific field of Product Lifecycle Management it also gets confused with the Engineering Change Management Process).

I often use Business Transformation, Business Improvement, Adoption instead to focus on the People adoption aspect and the Business outcome needed. “Change Management” being one critical component of an improvement to ensure a successful outcome and realized value.

One final thought … disruptive technology transformations and continuous lean improvement initiatives are both needed and often managed independently. I see an opportunity to better coordinate tactical improvements and strategic transformation initiatives.

Elizabeth Bauman

Interesting idea – I love the concept of change readiness as a norm in organizations. If that doesn’t exist then I believe change management will persist.

Change management is an outdated concept – Time to replace change managementZah Cherry

Interesting article – having read through the comments so far, I can see why people would be attracted to a different name.

I have used Business Readiness in the past to prepare the business community to take on the new ways of working, etc. But we had to apply Change Management techniques to get them there. Changing the name is not going to make it more successful, it is the underlying problem we need to sort out – people practicing Change Management are not skilled up enough to do the job and the business loses confidence.

It reminds me a little of Agile Project Management, where people think they don’t need to plan anymore.

Let’s help create robust Change Management practices, tools and techniques and prepare the Change Managers to do the actual job.

Kenneth Beard

No! Changing the name will only proliferate the misunderstanding of what it is. This is not only unnecessary but counter-productive.

Every source I have ever used to learn about the topic never suggested that change management was an event – at the organization, team or individual level. It was always described as the start of a process that allows one to navigate the “latent barriers to change” and build capacity/resilience for more change.

It is thus a suitable title and is on-going until internalization but reset to the start with each new wave of change.

Janet Lewis

I professionally disagree. There is a big difference among these concepts.

Continuous Change is the concept that the organization is always changing, but you need Change Management to assist the people who are constantly changing. Change Readiness is part of Change Management -assessing the people /processes and getting them ready for the change.

The question that need to be addressed is how can Change Management be improved? Changing the name will not address this perceived concern because change is inevitable and at the end of the day you will need people to manage the change…. change management.

Brendan Dunphy

What’s most commonly missing is ‘Change Leadership’. ‘Leadership’ and ‘ Management’ are very different things but often confused.

Kiran Kachela

For me, change management is “people change”

John Ubsdell

Change readiness is far better term and ensures that strategic leaders have that in their plans at all time and able to predict change and be ready.

Dale Shafer

I still like the info-graphic you prepared regarding the Top 40 Questions to ask before embarking on any change, which highlighted “change management is a dolphin not a whale”.

I think this ideal ties in nicely to your current article and also highlights the importance of speed and agility in order to accomplish change goals within an organization. We all know “culture eats strategy for breakfast” so it would clearly be a mistake to not ensure the organization is well-prepared for action. In the end, change management will help focus, align and motivate the resources required to implement a change.

Carol Neethling

Great discussion point. I believe that the reason change management fails is that it is still seen as an event, so in an agile world it gets overlooked as it seems as if the management of the change will be too slow and cumbersome, slowing down the process.

How any initiative will affect people and their adoption of the initiative (change management) MUST be the first consideration and then the change process must be followed through. Changing the term will not change the effectiveness of the principle if the principle of change management is not embedded in an organization.

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About The Author

Torben Rick

Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement, development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.

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