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By: Marigrace McKay on October 19th, 2017

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Why DIY Change Management is NOT a Best Practice

Business Management & Strategy

The term ‘change management’ hurts my brain. It doesn’t do justice to the very important work of transition and transformation. Repositioning a company for product, financial, market, and competitive advantages is very important work. Many practitioners of change management hold to strict process constructs, when in fact they should flex with the purpose/intention of the change.

I consider the root word - organic. For an organization to be organic, it must be alive and growing. That means real people, living, breathing, and working – in an organization that is inert.

A common ‘miss’ for many change management efforts is how change must be different at different levels of the organization.  An illustration would be:

  • A management team to understand/adopt their new change management role
  • At the workforce mid-level, generating the levers of ‘new’ change and sustainability measures would be their role.
  • And at the general employee-at-large level, change would entail engaging and internalizing the new direction/decision.

Methodology is no substitute for creativity. 

Logic will get you from A to Z; but creativity will get you everywhere - Albert Einstein

Change management is not universal and one size does not fit all – hence the need for a wide range of creativity, language, approaches, diagnostics, and tools. People don’t change, they grow – and they resist being managed like being forced to ‘change’.

My best advice when approaching change management is....

If there is not a defined business case – an analyzed, documented need for something to change, do nothing. Stay in the threat or concept exploration phase until the problem/opportunity is clear. When the path forward is crystallized, many forward efforts will fall in line. Loud chatter and frenzy for ‘change now’ is a warning sign for more clear-headedness in strategic direction.

One example of needing a more defined business case is a client company that had a ‘bad employee morale’ problem according to managers. The bad morale was largely reflected in employee turnover; over 60% (yikes!).  Further review and analyses by a consulting team, showed that 78% of the workforce was out of compliance in training requirements.  In truth, bad morale and turnover were symptoms of a demoralized workforce. Employees wanted to do their jobs well, but lacked the company compliance training needed to do so – they felt useless and foolish. Designing and implementing a training catch-up program over a 10-month period of time resulted in: 100% trained workforce, 50% reduction in turnover, and $M year-end productivity. To see employees high-fiving each other in the parking lot was all the gratification this consultant needed.

Organizations make decisions that invoke changes in directions.

When behavioral change (people actions) are required, look first to re-aligning the organizational framework – that is the constructs, policies, and processes needed to shape the desired results. Of course, involving employees in the re-shaping of their future and the company’s is essential.  A deliberate, defined process of analyzing the organizational elements will bring about sustainable transition.

Change management is a management science that specializes in people behavior and organization design for the purpose of repositioning a company for product, financial, market, and competitive advantages.

Starting a new change management capability in any company is a daunting initiative. Before tackling a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to change management, consider reaching out to experts who will first understand YOUR company, and who will then employ various tools and analyses to identify clarity.  For instance, Helios HR consultants like myself are engaged to mine the solutions that bring meaningful improvements (change) to client organizations. Seeking the expert services will be the exact resource you need when considering how to shift your company into a bright new future.