It isn’t. It is about people/ employees/ internal customers and not about the change. How many times you have heard these statements ?
- We need to embed change
- We are rolling out change
- Change has to be embraced
We make it so much about the ‘change’ that we forget that it is the people/employees/ internal customers who are changing. Change in itself is nothing. What we call ‘change’ is the act of people changing their behaviours. Most of the times ‘change’ as a noun becomes much more important than ‘change’ as a verb. We start talking about ‘a change’ as opposed to ‘ to change’. This is where I feel most change management projects miss the point – ‘Change management projects are about people and not about change itself’
Let me help you visualise this. On the left is how we mostly do it and on the right is how I am proposing we should do it.
- If you put ‘Change’ at the heart of everything (left), then you will have change driving people and that in turn driving the benefits
- If you put ‘People’ at the heart of everything (right), then you will have people driving the change and that in turn driving the benefits
This all might be very subtle but I think this matters. I think people (employees) need to feel that they are driving change and not the other way round. To achieve this we need to think people first. We need to create structures that empower people to drive change. We need people to see benefits as their achievement and not achievement of the change project. To begin with, we need to acknowledge that ‘change is about people and not about change’. I have few more thoughts around the subject but that’s for another day!