The Truth About Change Managers

The Truth About Change Managers

October 21, 2011 Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post
Trees are great change managers...

Trees are great change managers...

Nowadays it’s very popular to talk about change.

It seems as if change is something that accompanies us all through our whole lives.

And you know what? It’s true. We don’t need to go so far and look at the content of our lives. It’s already sufficient to have a look at life itself.

Life is change. Each single cell in you body is renewing itself in every moment of your life.

As child you’re growing and developing your adult body. That is to say your voice, skin, muscles, and hair is visibly changing from year to year. Even from week to week in the very early stages of your human life. Your body is getting stronger and fitter.

As adult it’s the same. You’re getting older. Again your voice, skin, muscles and hair is visibly changing from year to year. This time it’s just the other way round.

So it doesn’t matter if you think about these facts of if you don’t – the truth is: you will be confronted with change throughout your life.

Change concerning your biology, your psychology, your life situation, ….. change concerning each single thought you’re able to think.

Just think about what has changed in your life … let’s say in the last 5 years? Take a few minutes and try to find out what has changed.
Are you still living in the same apartement? Do you have another husband or wife? Girl or boyfriend? Perhaps you have a new job or launched a new business as a successful freelancer?

So as you can see, change naturally belongs to our lives.
And this insight is also valid for organizations.

Organizations and especially the environment of organizations are changing rapidly nowadays.

That is to say the system organization is changing for its single elements are changing continuously. The society, the competition, policy …. everything changes and we all are part of this changing system.

But what does that mean for us?

It’s fairly simple. If an element of a system changes, all the other elements have to change too, because a system always strives for inner stability. If the other elements do not change, the system will collapse.

For an organization this would mean: leaving customers, leaving employees, increasing costs, decreasing earnings, broken relationships to suppliers etc.

To avoid such developments we have to be alert and pay attention to changing circumstances.

As soon as we can identify some, we must react in some way. Reacting means adapting. And adapting means changing.

The earlier we realize a changing parameter, the more flexible we are to react. And that means we do not passively react…. no, it means we dominate the situation because of our flexibility.

The best way to plan our future is to design it. Therefore organizations do need good designers. But what characterizes such a good designer?

The answer to that is the content of this article.

But let’s first have a look at what change management really is….

What Is Change Management?

Change management means designing the future especially of organizations or single parts of organizations. But its insights can also be applied to all the other items of our daily and very personal lives.

In the professional business context change management is commonly acknowledged as a kind of toolbox that’s full of methods that help project managers and leaders to design especially the phase of change right before the actual change projects start.

Commonly acknowledged doesn’t mean that it must be right, does it? :-)

Now, In this article I want to tell you the truth about change managers.
The truth about change managers as I see it and as I experienced it in my business life.

It completely differs from the statement above.

Basic Requirements Of A Change Manager

So, why do I disagree? There is a simple answer: change management is NOT a toolbox.

Change management primarily is an attitude towards other humans.

This is the reason why change management is quite hard to do and needs lots of experience.
If change management was just a toolbox it would be relatively simple to learn.

Just learn the tools and go for it. But it’s not that easy.

Learning change management means learning the fundamentals of communication.
In my personal business experience the following list of attributes characterized people who succeeded in being great change managers:

  • They all were very curious humans.
  • These people continously strived for personal excellence.
  • The goal for these people was the mastery in managing change processes.
  • Change management meant profession and passion for them. It wasn’t just a job.
  • Humility was a central virtue of those persons.

I think humility, curiosity and the wish to grow personally are absolutely necessary basic requirements of excellent change managers.
And I hope you agree that these attributes are hard to transfer during courses and seminars, don’t you !?

Nevertheless, it is possible. And yes… of course… there are also some tools that can support the work of change managers.
BUT these tools just concern a small part of a change manager’s work. Most of the work deals with communication and humans.

So be honest to yourself and ask yourself the following questions before you start to dive into change undertakings:

  • What is my personal attitude towards other humans?
  • How much do I know about communication?
  • How long may such processes take?
  • What is the reason for this change and how would I feel in that situation?
  • What is the great and true benefit for the people?
  • What is the great and true benefit of this undertaking for me?
  • What can I learn and what what can I teach?
  •  ….

Be sensible, emphatic and open for the needs of other humans during a change process.
Then you’re definitely on the right way to become a great change manager.

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Posted in Change Management on Oct 21st, 2011, 22:20 by haukeborow