I read two articles this morning which highlighted the importance of AGILITY in business today and the potential dangers of introducing “change initiatives”.
If we are asking our people to think about change only during change initiatives, does it mean they shouldn’t stay ahead of the game the rest of the time? Does this mean that we do not want them to constantly challenge and review current practice, to avoid our performance from going down?
Another danger in introducing “change initiatives”, as pointed out by Chris Musselwhite and Tammie Plouffe in the HBR blog article Communicating Change as Business as Usual, is that the initiative is seen as extra work, not as part of our responsibility to contribute to the organisation’s success.
My other concern with “change initiatives” is that the term conjures up a long-term process, something which will take months to plan, therefore seeing “the change” as taking place some time in the future. While planning is necessary, it seems to remove the possibility of changing today, or of operating in an agile way, which allows to respond to change as we go along. Technology is forcing businesses to stay ahead of the game and is threatening those companies who rely on long-term contracts. (For a good example on this, see Brett Clay’s article “Borders Books Liquidation Shows Change Management Doesn’t Work”.)
Maybe we should get rid of the word Change and substitute it for Evolution, after all, either you evolve or you perish. Or is it a case of “potatoe/potato”?