The end of Change Management as we know it..

Change management is an outdated concept. “Change Management” is not the main organizational challenge any more, but mastering complexity, volatility  and reality of life as well as emerging patterns and needs of organizations.

This is why:

–   Change Management suggests, that there is anything like “Stability Management”. No, there is nothing but Change Management: it is not the exception but the new normal. So the concept of Change Management make only sense if there are phases of stability and change: there aren’t (any more).

– Many consultants talk about the need of “reinventing” organizations, about the outdatedness of hierarchical structures, budgets planning, HR tools and all the other last century tools. I agree. But what about our own consultant’s approaches? What about concepts like the “change curve”, change architecture, steering committee and other hierarchical project structures, a certain rigidity and knowing “how things are and should be” and other models, that were developed within a paradigm of stable growth? What if they are as outdated as the clients, they consult?

– The term “Change Management” means “Controlled change”: definition of a future desired state and definition of steps how to reach that goal (Masterplan). There is just one problem: life itself is in the way…features of life which are: you can not control it, you can not predict it, you can (maybe) influence it to a very limited extend. Change is the only stability there is.

– Most change projects are difficult to implement and need “Change Management”, because they are enforced by someone who wants to “implement” a certain concept, idea and reach a future goal. Most of the time it does not consider the energy of the NOW and makes sense in the moment. So the purpose of Change Management is to limit the level of resistance and try to get the best out of it, nevertheless you will end up with an organization that feels overrun and will strike back.

– Most change approaches cannot keep pace with an absolutely complex, fast-moving and ever changing world.

– And yes, sometimes it is helpful to facilitate and “manage” a process for new patterns to emerge; but not to impose “change” on a system and people, but to give “birth” to something, that is already there.

I am convinced we need a totally new way of looking at and working with organizations: a new approach, theory, language and attitude. Organizations are no objects, they are a process, actualizing and becoming real at every moment based on the way people act, communicate and think.

And I see the strong need and desire to  to relieve organizations from all heaps of concepts and goals and rules that bury what wants to be heard and helped into life and existence.

How to? By listening and responding to organizations and by working with emerging needs. For one client it might start with the call for “empowerment” by employees, with other it might be the need for “performance”, with others it might be the question how to “master complexity”. We don’t set up change projects but a development context, we go one step after the other, work with the result of one step and sense into what is needed next. Looking back we could construct some red line but while in the process we just work with simple tools such us:

– Listening to the purpose of the organizations

– Stop doing things all the time and get some rest

– Meditating and listening to the voice of the organization

– Creating a collective organizational consciousness and a conscious organization, that will know exactly what needs to be done next

– Doing one step after the other and trust you will find solid ground

– Stopping planning ahead, and do what needs to be done next

– Create a sense of trust and openness, humor and lightness.

– Learning how to listen to each other, building relationship between stakeholders..

– Doing what needs to be done

This might result into a new organization structure, new rules, new ways of working together, but this is never the goal.

From the outside it might look like just another change project, but there is one huge difference: the change is not the result of an enforced process but of an expressed actual desire and necessity.

2 thoughts on “The end of Change Management as we know it..

  1. Julia, I appreciate very much your approach. I would be happy to introduce you to my network. Perhaps you can provide me with a profile of those you would like to meet. Of course, my executive search friends also connected with the German community yet far more. I regret that we’ll not cross in the valley so I can host some dinners to introduce you in a more gentle manner than a mail Best, Jeannine

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