In my experience, change management is too often code for designing “sales plans” to convince workers to go along with something management wants to do with little or no input. In many articles you’ll find advice on change management boiling down to a few useful points—if they’re used to help deploy the change, not to conceive of it. 1) Plan it 2) Communicate it, 3) Manage it, 4) Create a website, 5) Host local town halls/workshops/etc.
Referring to Peter F. Drucker, let’s take as given that it’s management’s job to, “…Plan, set objectives and think through priorities;…think through assignments and set standards…and above all take responsibility for its own work and performance.” (One’s management style may be very high in emotional I.Q. or very autocratic, but at the end of the day management must do its job.) Then, let’s accept that, “…In all these areas the worker himself, from the beginning, needs to be integrated as a ‘resource’ into the planning process.” (We know that knowledge workers tend to be highly motivated experts who derive great satisfaction in making a difference—and it turns out they don’t take direction particularly well.)
Looking at a potential change from this perspective we see how management is able to do its work in a way that doesn’t require intense selling because workers are involved from the beginning. By organizing responsibility, instead of relying on authority, management gets the worker involved in a way that promotes shared vision and shared responsibility based on the values of the organization. Then, when it’s time to implement, plans can devolve into work, much faster with greater concentration of effort.
In other words, like any good product or service, it kind of sells itself.
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