During my 25 years as a change management professional I have had thousands of conversations with people about Change Management. And now I have finally come to the conclusion that Change Management is boring, stop doing it.
Hundreds and hundreds of hours spent extolling the virtues of effective change management the penny has finally dropped.
Change professionals LOVE their job. It is among the best jobs you can get. It’s super fast paced, exciting, challenging. No two days the same. There are heaps of variety in all aspects - people, problems, process, procedure, passion, pride and sometimes portacabins (if you've worked on an NHS transformation you will understand).
People going through change however generally DON’T love it. Businesses openly resist managing change correctly; they fail to see the value in it. People and businesses put more effort into resisting change or trying to work around change management than it would usually take to just embrace it and enjoy the journey. Having their hand held, being constantly reassured, listened to, engaged with, communicated to, communicate, communicate, communicate, carefully trained and wrapped in cotton wool whilst enduring the change that ultimately takes them to a far happier, slicker, simpler and better place.
Change Management is boring because it ensures risks are mitigated. Issues are managed. Any decent change manager ensures that people are, as above, listened to, engaged, protected, communicated with - communicate, communicate, communicate - and generally worried about day and night. Sleepless nights people, sleepless nights – all for you.
Change Management manages significant costs, preventing waste, avoiding over-spend and ensuring value for money. It identifies benefits and tracks them through to realization. It ensures everyone, from key stakeholders to end-users feels a part of the change and understands what is happening, when and why - communicate, communicate, communicate. Post-project reviews tweak and hone solutions to make adopters even more comfortable fixing the snagging list of usability, workarounds and bi-annual reports.
So boring is the above that we should all stop doing it. Because that’s when things get interesting and really exciting. Chaos ensues. Budgets bust and cash hemorrhages. Nobody knows what the hell is going on and when it is supposed to start and end – poor communication, lack of communication, no communication. Disengaged and dumbfounded staff abandon ship due to ridiculous or impossible systems, processes, procedures and workarounds. Clients desert you. All highly exciting, really, really exciting.
Change Management is dead.
Long live Chaos Management.