Saturday, May 2, 2009

At The Heart of Change Management...

I think the essence of change that is accepted and adopted is that it is desired by the "Changee" - not the changer.  We all like to change.  But we want to change at OUR pace, in the direction WE like.  We do not want the other guy telling us what to change to.

Unfortunately most change management begins after some one up there has already decided what that change needs to be, based on what he wants.  Then he assumes people are resisting his change and sets about 'managing' the resistance, to ensure everyone adopts the change he wants.

In our work shops on change management, we do  two things differently and the results have been amazing.
  1. We make sure the participants, mostly 'change agents' and 'solution developers', experience the pain of change directly, themselves.
  2. We spend a lot of time understanding how change management needs to be built into the solution itself.  Understanding the life, culture, behavior and roots of the people impacted by any proposed change is part of the Analysis / Diagnisis phase of any change effort.  This has to precede the development of the solution.  When you understand that some of your audience may be asians, you build the asian-friendliness into the solution.  When you do this, you  don't need a separate 'change management' initiative.
Key to this type of Analysis is the fact that people develop roots in their current context.  When I take up a job in Brentwood, CA, I also get myself a home nearby and put my children into schools nearby.  These 'roots' cause me to 'resist' any change to my job location.  If this is understood, the change agent stops saying I resist change and starts exploring how he can solve the problem by adapting the solution or building facilitation of my move away from Brentwood into the solution and / or implementation plans.  Once the 'root cause' of my resistance is addressed logically, I do not resist the change any more.  I've become a partner - even a champion.