I recently had the great pleasure of speaking with Maria Darby, Senior VP at Booz Allen Hamilton and Dr. Brooks Holtom, Associate Professor at Georgetown's McDonough School of Business. Their institutions are teaming up and launching an interesting program around creating a career path for change management.
I'm interviewing both of them in the next few days to get a better perspective of what they're thinking around change management is. Stay tuned. Until then, here are the highlights of the conversation.
Both Brooks and Maria see the term "change management"--over and over--broadly interpreted and narrowly delivered. Change management needs to be delivered holistically, by a practitioner who has experience (preferably) in the organization. Both see the need to create a set of criteria that equals a standard for change management.
Brooks made an interesting point about Google Earth. You can take a holistic look at the globe and see some of the connections. Change management is also a set of interlocking and dependent events: one change leads to a change in another." To make change happen, and stick, someone driving change management needs to understand the jigsaw puzzle of an organization. You need to understand a variety of dimensions: the organization, the technology, the policy and how people are going to be affected; how business processes are going to change; how the culture will help or hinder these changes, etc.
An important element often overlooked is that all change is personal. Sure, as an organization, you are changing so that the organization, basically, makes more money. To get there, don't forget the people. You need them to make that happen.
We are all too aware of IT departments driving forward with rolling out technology without any concern for how that technology is going to be received by the business units it's intended for. Big clash.
A change facilitator will get in there early. Dive in and make the user part of the process. Not only part of the process, partners in the process.
You also need to institutionalize change so that it becomes the norm and that people don't go back to the old ways of doing things.
Brooks and Maria both noted that while this isn't the first such effort with change management, they do think it's the most comprehensive. Also that it's the first professional certification that they're away of.
Final thought: neither used the word "user" when talking about change. They always said "people." To me, that's a key switch in thinking and one that everyone needs to make as they attempt change in organization.
To paraphrase fellow Louisianan James Carville, "It's the people, stupid."
Thanks for reading,