“Change Management” a Misnomer!

At CCG we believe that the term “change management” is a misnomer.  As change and strategy consultants our assignment is to advise a client in identifying and engaging with complexity in their organization.

Change invariably arises as the result of seeking to implement a new strategy in a system (that can be defined as a team, division or entire enterprise).

If an organization demands change because of other dynamics like complaints about leadership or company culture, then you have big problems!  (We will deal with this scenario in another posting).  

By the same token, if an organization is down-sizing (or “right-sizing” in consultant speak) then what employees need is skill development and support in finding alternative employment.  Again, this is not what is euphemistically referred to as “change management”.

Clients usually call when they are presented with big opportunity (launch of a new product/service or purchase of a new company), or when presented by great challenge (market contraction, game-changing introduction of technology that can’t be ignored).

As a result we speak of Change Implementation, which is really the process of helping a complex system negotiate its way around the implementation of new strategy, or Strategy Implementation.

The other reason I=we don’t like the term “change management” is that it usually refers either to a “training” course that is meant to “support” employees emotionally and cognitively through a change process (nothing wrong with this these actions, but only a small part of a larger process); the other use of “change management” is within ICT and here is a reference to a training course on a new hard system (the term we use to refer new IT hardware or software).

Either way, the approaches described above do not take cognizance of the myriad of complex organisational dynamics that might result from the implementation of new strategy.

Examples of “strategy implementation” projects could include a list as varied as the following:

  • Implementation of a SharePoint portal (currently very topical and the type of project we would insist should not sit with ICT alone: there are a number of organizational interactions that should be facilitated in order to ensure appropriate adoption and use of a system as powerful as this)
  • Strategy development of a Digital/New Media strategy
  • Culture change: ensure all areas of the business are included in formulation and roll-out of such a strategy, particularly the line.  Often HR is asked to head up such a project, without sufficient input from business leaders (then we ask why resistance levels are so high!)
  • Strategic Training (We are thinking here of something complex like a training program to build coaching skill on the line: impacts on corporate culture as well as how a company chooses to engage with staff and run its performance management system)
  • Mergers and Acquisitions: this type of process in our view should not be left to financial advisory or HR in isolation.  Rather, an approach that builds an integrated solution has a far higher level of success

In order to address these difficult challenges, over the past decade CCG has developed System7™, a proprietary change and strategy implementation methodology.

In forthcoming blogs, we will speak to aspects of System7™, in order to engage in professional conversation with other strategy and change consultants, and to hopefully add to our ability to be successful in this difficult field.