Written by: Sunil Thekkepat
About the author: National Business Head & Sr Vice President | Over two decades of Corporate experience ; voracious reader, an avid traveler and a connoisseur of good things in life !
How often have you heard or read about ‘Change Management’? And how often have you heard about the clichéd but the true phrase “Change is the only constant”? There would be hundreds and thousands of books and articles on Change Management
Yet, I’m taking a punt to write on the same, for the simple reason that this seems to be the underlying theme in many businesses today. While you could deny and choose to ignore at your own peril, but the smartness lies in accepting this arduous fact of life.However, while a lot has been written and said about what to do in Change Management, I would like to dwell on some of the fallacies in Change management and hence what you should avoid. Here are 7 of them
This is clearly the first trap that most step on, where they deny that the change is not meant for them. As Andy Grove, the former head of Intel stated in his book – “Only the Paranoid survive”! Hence, even if it’s not meant to be for you, it’s always prudent to be prepared. We have umpteen examples in the world of business history, were denial costed them. The classic ones being Nokia, Blackberry, Kodak etc. or the recent example of America, which refused to believe that Covid 19 is not more than just a normal flu.
Making it a fad
This is the other extreme that many blindly follow, simply because making a Change seems fashionable. The age old saying ‘don’t mend something that isn’t broken’ certainly works in corporate world too. While Change Management is largely instigated by the external environment, it more often than not is also intrinsically driven. The need & timing of bringing about the change in the business is very critical. An ill-timed change can be detrimental.
The Perfect Plan
While dealing with Change, truly ‘perfection becomes the enemy of the good’! In a world which is becoming hard lined VUCA (Volatile-Uncertain-Complex-Ambiguous), there can never be a perfect plan. In the pursuit of the perfect plan, we need to embrace uncertainty and the plan needs to evolve at every stage. Perhaps that would make it a “perfect” plan.
This is another common mistake that organization & leaders do when managing change. Anything that’s built bottoms-up will remain solid. Hence, the doors should always remain open to feedback from across teams, functions and particularly from those who are close to the action. The mantra to begin with should be the presumption that no one has the complete answer. This would help you be better prepared to seek feedback
Sticking to the Plan
Yes, you read it right – sticking to the plan could be another pit fall and hence avoided. When dealing with change management, sticking to the goal or outcome is more relevant and important rather than the plan. Therefore during the course, if the plan needs to be changed numerous times, go ahead as long as the outcome is clearly fixed and locked. Being stubborn on the plan make do you more harm than good
Making it Personal
Very often, you see Managers and Leaders taking Change Management as their personal mission. Sometimes, as mentioned earlier (Making it a fad) this could be driven purely for vested interest, to gain personal mileage but risking much more in the bargain. While taking ownership does display a lot of passion in driving Change Management, but making it personal often blinds & binds you to maneuver the plan when required. It also discourages feedback from other quarters, because it’s MINE! So don’t make it personal unless the change is a personal one!
Rationing Appreciation and Recognition
If there’s one thing that you should overshoot in your budget, it is appreciation for the team. Do remember that dealing with change is a stressful situation for all involved. Hence, when teams and individuals who have done well (albeit small wins), do ensure they are immediately recognized and appreciated. Most of them make the big mistake of withholding all the appreciations till the D-day.Change Management is a journey, hence along the way celebrate!