Network & Share
Explore & Learn
In Defense of Change Management
Change. Chaos. Choice.
This week's webinar - "JUSTA CHAT"
Thursday January 20th
I want to protest; it seems fashionable today. I read HERE and agree with the author’s warning about future forecasters such as fortune tellers and change management “experts”. My protest is with the author spoofing "change management." His mistake is in implying that change managers profess to "know" the future. That is wrong and foolish..
I agree that only fools profess to know the future, and even greater fools believe them. At best some people can make the future; they have the leadership qualities and/or the resources to do it. But I digress, shaping the future is the subject of leadership - important and very timely, but let's relegate it to a future editorial. Back to today's subject - the merit or otherwise, of change management and knowing the future.
No one in the consultancy practice of "change management" is in the business of forecasting or professing to know the future. Rather they are into helping others "prepare" for future uncertainties. It is called "planning".
Planning is exceptionally difficult in times of rapid change and uncertainty; when the forces and sources of change become so overwhelming as to foster distrust and heighten reaction to emotional discord.
One of the severe dangers of "change management" and "planning" is to authorize an agent advertised as an "expert" with insight - particularly if self-proclaimed to know the future and/or the emotive leader festering fear. The true "expert" is expert at the process of guiding an organization in assessing options, understanding it's capacity and readiness to change, adapting and following through. The best plans, planners, and leaders allow for and anticipate the unanticipated.
The article inadvertently denies the merit of change managers and in so doing the merit of planning, that is, making decisions about the future. By association, it also denies the relevance of the man-made methodology of "science" - an invention with proven predictive capacity - based on experience, inclusive, and acknowledged uncertainty!
Most organizations engage in some form of "change management" referred to as "strategic planning". Through some form of environmental scanning various scenarios are generated with the organization charged with "changing" for ensuring its readiness for uncertainty. It is a planning process requiring "decision making". Of course it is probabilistic - imperfect. What isn't? The more unfamiliar the environment and/or the further out the future, the weaker the plan and the need for flexibility.
There are of course consequences for not preparing. They are usually severe - maybe even existential. If anticipated they may be beneficial. Planning usually involves "changing/ anticipating" in such a way to be nimble/ resilient. The future best fits those prepared for opportunity and resilient to threats. To do nothing is an option for fools and the already dead.
Turning now to the implications for people. Neuroscience has demonstrated that the brain has a "forebrain" that integrates both logic - left hemisphere, and emotion - right hemisphere, each with a vast array of memory/ experience/ learnings all contributing to decision making. The brain is however inherently biased to avoid threats, to ensure survival it is particularly susceptible to "fear". This explains the power of "chicken little". The brain is forecasting the future every moment, every step, every trip, every investment. When much is illogical and/or confusion prevails, anxiety prevails leading to fear and action: freeze or flight.
The human being as a social being is forever assessing the value of others and the environment to help in "change management". The article's caution about fortune tellers and self-professed "experts" is well taken, the rest - pooh poohing "change managers" i.e. planners, is a stretch – even dangerous, fueling distrust in the logical process of planning.
The reason education and parenting, communications and planning, exist is to help people and organizations to survive, to prosper, to avoid threat, to seize opportunity. People are scanning their environment, making decisions, planning, and continuously learning - all the time. So do - or should, their social organizations. Wise or not, most don't suffer accidents as they are more often right than wrong.
Thank you. Stay safe. Keep learning. - Editor@KEInetwork.net
Social license restored - fusion by 2030
Core to economic resilience
Respecting the environment
Higher and longer threat
Trade barriers, Covid hangover
AI & VR - Metaverse
An illusion or new reality?
Signaling an economic decline
China v USA
Competition can be healthy
Signup for Troy Media's daily editorial and news updates HERE
Solving labour shortages through innovative inclusion. Contact us HERE
"Winning Hearts and Minds". Contact us HERE