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we are constantly managing change. It is a day to day activity not an additional program. It’s part of the game. Whether we manage change or need change management depends on a variety of factors. However, change management, if required, is an indicator for change possibly going wrong. Why so?
Management Reasoning and Purpose
Managers are thought that one of their core purposes is to initiate change. In most companies, change is thought to be a purely management driven act even though it is there all over. At times, it looks like a periodic phenomenon in any organisation.
Organisational and structural change, change in process, change in market approach are initiated for very different reasons. From newly installed management to time from last change, from external triggers to the sheer need to do something differently, one can find many reasons and purposes.
My two favourite purpose categories are: management reasoning and mismanagement. Management reasoning includes power-play as well as power-assertion while in mismanagement reasoning, often manifested in a decline in divisional or corporate figures, change is a cover-up operation. For sure purpose is a driving factor for success or failure.
Whatever the reason or purpose of the change program, some key factors move organisations to implement change management. Doing so in the belief that change management will cover the gaps torn wide open by their program. These gaps cause disruption, insecurity and uncertainty all resulting in fear, rejection and anger. With this happening or in a preventive move change management is made part of the change program.
From the view of a learning organisation this disruptive change method is a clear indicator that the company is only changing process and structure but not the form of the organisation. The company doing so is still in the stage where it considers an organisation to be a mechanism and not an organism. Such a company can change from all kinds of structures to others, even picking elements from holacracy or sociocracy. It will try to implement methods coming from real living organisations that are agile and attractive as well as highly innovative and effective. It will not really change because the fabric by which the company is run is not changing.
If change is what an organisation needs to manage then, with a shift in basic presumptions. It will find that managing change means considering that it is a living system that does not necessarily behave as what would be perceived to be logical. It will resist pressure by returning pressure. It will prove that speeding-up, more likely than not, leads to slowing-down. It will dodge expected effects proving that cause and effect are not necessarily closely related in space and time.
Concluding I would suggest that change is an evolutionary process where the drivers of evolution are the leading factors. Where the purpose of the organisation, its story, and the resonance within the organisation deliver the coordinates to navigate by. That complexity is easily managed in a system that enables, empowers, facilitates, makes space and gives a purpose because it will not be managed by one or some managers but by all who take part. It is not a utopia, but real life in many highly valuable organisations.