Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Is it Change Management or Strategy Implementation?

So many times we are asked to address a change issue with a client. Every time when we as consultants do our homework we find that yes a change is occurring but a program is not the answer. As an HR professional now for more years that I would like to admit, I have had a fundamental issue with change management. It’s not an event that we can express on a coffee mug or a t-shirt, it is about a new desired business result. Either we are looking to increase revenue, increase profit, or to be more efficient. To be able to SUSTAIN any of these results, doesn’t change have to be continuous? And really, couldn’t we just substitute the words STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION instead of CHANGE MANAGEMENT?

In my experience change management initiatives were almost always the result of a shift in strategy. In typical organizations the leadership communicates the new strategy, sets goals, and monitors results. At the same time HR conducts change management workshops that teach employees how to prepare and accept change. I think those events should be combined.

Why do most programs fail including change management? We fail to execute. So what we need to do is assist leaders with execution.

Before all the OD consultants out there fire off responses to me, I do feel that the principles of change like buy in, resistance, communication of desired and current state, and all of those are critically important when woven into the bigger conversation of the NEW BUSINESS RESULT.

In these times of HR really having to prove their existence, should we be talking about change management initiatives or is strategy implementation/execution the right conversation? This question came to me after having a very good conversation with a client last week regarding a very large shift in strategy at their organization.
Sometimes, organizations just get stuck, so a discussion needs to take place about what is desired in the 5 key areas of the organization and what the current state is in the following areas:
1) Strategy
2) Leadership
3) Culture
4) Employees
5) Customer

Next, a discussion of the gaps need to take place and how we plan to CHANGE in the context of strategy.

Or, you could just order some t-shirts…


Robin said...

I agree with you that a change of strategy leads to change management. The fault I find today is that strategy implementation can be applied to resove change management (as you suggest) BUT change management can't be applied to execute strategy and htis is why many fail.


Unknown said...


I agree with your last statement wholeheartedly. I believe a change management program will not lead to sucessful strategy execution....

I belive we are on hte same page...thanks for reading and commenting!


Unknown said...

I agree and can say this is change management. nice post for a newbie like me!

Change Management Questionnaire

Unknown said...

Thanks for reading and commenting!