Tips and pitfalls in managing change
A critical area of competitive advantage nowadays is the ability of organizations to lead rather than follow changes in the market and this means having the ability to roll out the right changes quickly and reliably in a way that delivers a return on investment for the organization, according to Helen Campbell in her book Managing Organizational Change: A Practical Toolkit for Leaders. What most organizations haven’t yet managed to do is build the capability to respond reliably to needs for change, let alone stay ahead of them.
The author’s model for organizational change is built around a Cycle of Change, which includes the following steps:
- Direct: The direction, destination and path of the proposed change need to be clearly articulated
- Drive: There needs to be sufficient energy and momentum applied for the change to succeed
- Deliver: Success depends on delivering the right solution, on time and on budget
- Prepare: Everything that needs to be in place to support a change must be ready
- Propagate: Changes need to be made to stick, and fixes applied where required
- Profit: Benefits of the change need to be articulated, measured, and kept visible throughout the change process
For each of the steps, the author outlines ten possible traps and ten ideas for achieving success. In my opinion this book is more useful as a reference into which you can dip to find ideas about a particular topic rather than as a story for reading from start to finish. There are numerous brief case studies, but they appear to be fictional or to have their names and facts altered, because I have been unable to find any of the mentioned organizations in real life.
The best-known book on organizational change is probably John Kotter’s Leading Change, and an Appendix of the current book shows how the steps in the author’s Cycle of Change map to Kotter’s eight steps. While Kotter’s book is a concise outline of the change management process, the current book is more a compendium of ideas about things which can make changes fail or succeed.