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Change Management Needs Changing

There’s something ‘pushing boulders uphill’ about ‘change management’.


We want things to change, but people resist change, they say.


So we bring in change managers to help them. What are they ‘managing’ exactly?

Explaining? Persuading? Providing emotional support? Finding a few who like the new idea to champion it?


It all sounds difficult. In the case of Lean implementations, it is said to lead to a 75% failure rate.


In a world driven by the need to be efficient, why are we putting so much effort into getting those changes to happen? We assume that the value of the change will be greater than the grief to make it happen. And change managers are needed to reduce the grief.


So what else do you do?


You could approach the problem from the opposite end. Change managers traditionally start with the tasks that require to be changed and then tackle the minds that need to change accordingly. Or, you could start with minds. First, ‘loosen’ them up. Fixed minds mean fixed paradigms. Those fixed paradigms keep people firmly ‘on the rails’ and will not let them contemplate alternatives. A new way that would take them somewhere different, better.


What do you do to ‘loosen’ people’s minds?


We say that they need to grow in awareness. Awareness brings openness.


It’s a bit like this. You’re on a train crossing the country. You do not have to think about where you are going. The rails guide you. You can be preoccupied with chatting to your friends, watching a movie on your smartphone or eating a sandwich. How much of the time are you looking out or the window? And if you do, is it just like another movie to you?


Or can you imagine yourself being off the train and exploring somewhere new, not on the train’s route? A growth in awareness means that you take your mind off the distractions around you and pay attention to what is going on outside your train [paradigm]. Then you are going to be more inclined to think about being somewhere else, doing something different.


Growth in awareness is another phrase for personal growth: getting to know ourselves. When we know ourselves better, we are better able to understand others. When we better understand others, we are driven to do things that better everybody’s lives. In so doing we make that desired change happen. I said ‘driven’ above. Motivated. Self-motivated. No need for a change manager to explain, persuade or support emotionally.


What then would you need them for?