(This is Part 1 of the Change Management in Perspective Series.)
Change management has always been very coupled with organizational transformation.
What I’m seeing is a transition of change management approach from one phase to another.
In the past when organizations only underwent change management when they were implementing technological or organizational upgrades once every few years or even once every few decades, change management was perceived and implemented as stand-alone projects.
Basically you didn’t always do it, and when you did, you did it once and for all in every case.
Let’s call that a project-oriented approach to change management.
As the digital technologies greatly accelerated the pace of change across business domains, we’re seeing a shift from that project-oriented approach of change management to an operation-oriented one.
The key difference is that, nowadays we’re almost always undergoing some kind of change due to the adopting of both maturing and emerging technologies.
In many cases, our need for change management is constant.
The challenge of the past was how we implement change management so that each transformation project is successful.
The challenge we’re facing right now is how to operationalize change management so that the organization itself becomes adaptable and transformable.
Those two are very different challenges and they require very different strategies and capabilities from both the leadership and the employees.