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May 15, 2017

Change Management Is Not About Change!

Summary:

In most organizations and most cultures, change management is not about the change; it’s all about the management (control of change).

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In 1993, my business cards included the tagline: Risk, Insurance and Change Management. When asked for a definition of change management, I would explain that change was the transition from today through tomorrows (the “s” on “tomorrow” suggested it is a process not an event). Management was about solving problems and capitalizing on opportunities as you worked through the process. More and more people now claim to manage change. I no longer do.

See also: 3 Main Mistakes in Change Management  

As the term became over- and misused, I moved to “change architect.” The tagline chosen was a quote from Peter Drucker, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” I even copyrighted and added the term “carpe mañana.” (Seize tomorrow.)

Early in the process, I heard a speaker state correctly, “Change isn’t progress. Change is the price we pay for progress.” How true it is.

Today as I was struggling to address an issue of resistance to change, I had an “aha moment.” I realized that, in most organizations and most cultures, change management is not about the change; it’s all about the management (control of change). It is not about making the future better. It is about protecting and preserving the status quo – the individual and collective comfort zones.

If you are serious about the future, don’t stand in today and look back to the good old days. Instead, turn your back on yesterday and look boldly to the horizon and design and build your own tomorrow – your future.

See also: Is It Time for Un-Change Management?  

Remember, “The greatest risk is not taking one.” (AIG Annual Report).

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About the Author

Mike Manes was branded by Jack Burke as a “Cajun Philosopher.” He self-defines as a storyteller – “a guy with some brain tissue and much more scar tissue.” His organizational and life mantra is Carpe Mañana.

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