Change Management 101

The biggest myth ever of change management… people do not like to change.

People do like to change. What they do not like is not having the ownership of the change.

If you are a movie-addict like me, you may have seen a movie called “Two days, one night”. This notion of ownership of change is beautifully shown across that story. Sandra, a young mother, discovers that her co-workers have opted for a significant pay bonus leading to her dismissal. On hearing the news, she retreats in a state of passivity and panic however her husband and two of her friends motivate her to take action, something that seems like a desperate action but still is an action: visiting each of her co-workers to ask them to review their decision. On the following Monday morning, even though not enough of her co-worker support her staying as an employee, enough do for her management to review their strategy: they agree to keep her under a specific condition, which happens not to be acceptable to Sandra, and she refuses it. Yes after all her effort to keep her job and to succeed at it, she refuses it, calm, determined, strong and very clear headed.

What makes such a drastic change in her reaction between the moment she heard the news and that meeting with her boss? The situation is the same, she is still out of job but now she has taken ownership of the situation; she has taken back control of the change and this change imposed onto her becomes a change she chooses.

The biggest error in change management is taking the ownership away from people most impacted by the change.

What is the the biggest success? The biggest may be challenging to pinpoint, but several success criteria jump to mind. Creating the change with the people most impacted. Creating a culture which can easily move through changes by developing employees’ self-leadership. Creating the change from the bottom up with the support of management (when in traditional hierarchical structure). Communicating correctly the change. Actually creating the change through clever strategic communication. Truly meaning the change being implemented, which means an alignment communication and actions.