most responsive to change.” Charles Darwin
This is an old quote often used, but I feel it really reflects the key elements of change and why Management of Change is so important. It is the ability as a species and as individuals to: recognize change as it is occurring; understand its implications; the impact it has on us personally as well as others and the surrounding environment; adapt our behaviour and approach and ultimately succeed. This is what change is all about.
So what is Management of Change? And why do I not call it change management?
Many years ago, I was heavily involved in a major change programme across a one billion dollar business. It involved every country in Europe, impacted hundred's of people careers and thousand's of customers. It spanned a three year change programme and was so political and sensitive in nature that the European CEO was the personal sponsor. As you can imagine, such an undertaking had multiple work streams of activity that all had to be coordinated. Things such as: impact assessments; cost analysis; benefits analysis; change control; timelines; checkpoints; reviews; sign off of milestones, execution activities, closure reports, etc, etc...... you can imagine the amount of detail and effort involved.
However, there was one work-stream that stood out. Led by the overall Programme Director, a lady called Christine, this was to put together the overall communications and change plan. We came together and realised that to use a phrase:
"The soft stuff is always harder than the hard stuff."
— Roger Enrico [Vice Chairman, Pepsico]
Everyone thinks that change is the soft stuff, the easy stuff, the fluffy stuff. Let me assure you it is not!
Change is hard. It is difficult. It is stressful. It is painful. It takes commitment. A great deal of time. Passion. Clear and explicit goals. Defined milestones. Measures of success. And above all else, a plan that everyone agrees to.
This is why we called it "Management of Change". You have to manage change as much, or even more so, than you would a business, an operation, a career, or a relationship.
So, what were the tools, techniques, pitfalls and successes? What have I learnt as a result? What do I continue to learn now? I am going to share over the next few posts some of these. I hope you find them as useful as I have and add them to your toolkit of life.