Is there only one route to change?

© Copyright Jim Barton -

© Copyright Jim Barton –

For me the answer is ‘No’ but ask most of the change management professionals their answer might be a resounding ‘Yes’

All the change management programs expect the users/ internal customers to follow the same journey on route to change. There always are fixed milestone, pre-decided paths and pre-determined KPIs for success and all of these tend to be the same for all the users.

Why does it have to be that way? Why do we have to force everyone down the same path? If I am a user I will hate that. Every user is different and everyone adapts to change differently. Why then we assume a single path to achieving change?

Why can’t we apply the concepts of customer journeys to change management? Similar to customers taking different ways to interact with products, services; internal customers interact with change in different ways.

A quick Google search tells me that the concept of Change Journeys exists but there seems to be no application of it to large scale technology driven change programs. I feel it is worth a shot. At a minimum it will help change the perception that majority of change programs fail. If we know that people are going to take different paths to change then we will also know that their journeys are going to take different duration. We will be prompted not measure everyone against same benchmark and if someone takes longer to change they will not be seen as a failure.

Application of change journeys will also allow us to customise the support we provide for each of these journeys. We will no more have single communication or support structure for all the internal customers. Each customer group will get the change products and services they need at a time and in a format they find most convenient. The reason we do not do it now is simple

  1. We do not treat users as customers
  2. We do not market/ sell change

and as we discussed today we do believe that change is monolithic !


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