Business Relationship Management for the Digital Enterprise


chapter 8. collaborative change: finding order in the chaos


This Chapter addresses organizational change, particularly complex, far reaching change such as the culture change associated with transforming an IT operating model. It looks at ways to approach organizational change and the importance of momentum in leading change. Finally, it introduces contemporary collaborative approaches to change that are appropriate to enabling a digital enterprise.

The term organizational change management is a misnomer. Change can’t be managed in the ways that people and projects can. It can be inspired. It can be led. It can be facilitated. It can be subverted and rejected. But it can’t be managed with any certainty as to outcomes.

Change leadership is a more appropriate term, and everyone in an organization should be a leader of the change they would like to see. When a change is suggested that a team or individual knows is not needed, or would prefer not to happen, then it becomes the responsibility of change advocates to lead others into the light, and to persuade the nay-sayers to get on-board with the change. Either approach is a leadership issue.

Organizational change planning should be based upon more pull and less push (as shown in the graphic above) and continuously revised in light of emergent behaviors. Sometimes emergent behaviors actually precede the recognition of the need for change.

People don’t hate change. They hate being changed!

One rule of thumb is that when change is introduced, one-third will be highly receptive and will pursue the change without being prodded. One-third will be highly resistant and will fight the change tooth and nail. And one-third will look to the other two-thirds and decide which path to follow. This may be overly simplistic, but the hypothesis resonates because it matches the experience of many change leaders.

Successful change engages the people and makes clear to them why change is beneficial to them.