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Change Management Is All About People… And Physics

To quote ancient philosopher Plato, “The City is what it is, because our Citizens are what they are”. Spot on: People have always been an organisation’s greatest asset – and challenge.

By Greg Pritchett, Managing Director at Marval Software


A few years back, organisations used to focus their advantages on the several benefits of their products and services, and advertised their portfolio as their key differentiation factor.

This has dramatically changed over the years. Most organisations today openly celebrate their people as a diverse, often mobile and remote, yet unified team. People have become the epicentre of corporate communications, a colourful and irreplaceable asset, and enterprises are happy to admit that their strength and uniqueness comes from within. What we have yet to admit, though, is that people can be an organisation’s biggest challenge; particularly when it comes to change.

I believe that anyone who has been managing people would agree with me on this: People generally don’t like change. Change is an action, a force, and it’s only reasonable to expect that it generates some sort of reaction. It’s simple physics, nothing peculiar with that. The bigger the change, the bigger the reaction we should expect.

As it happens with most challenges that relate to people management, communication is crucial to change management too. When things start to change, people need to understand what the disruption is about; why it happens; and how they will benefit from it, as individuals, as a team or as an organisation.

Communication is an integral and continual part of any Change Management Plan. In order for it to be effective, it should:

-          Begin with a detailed statement of the reasons that make change a necessity and point out any issues which will be addressed

-          Recognise the impact to different stakeholders and acknowledge the inconvenience it may cause

-          Describe any anticipated results and benefits for different groups and functions, or even individuals

-          Make it clear that the Senior Management is supporting the process 

-          Ensure that everyone understands the process; highlight the contribution of each individual and explain why everyone’s participation is crucial to success

Paraphrasing Plato, our Organisations are what they are, because our People are what they are: efficient, vivid, brilliant, talented and yes, reluctant to change as well.

Change generates reaction and it’s up to the senior managers to handle it, by minimising its impact to people and maximising its benefits. It’s up to team leaders to employ world-class techniques, tools and their best skills to ensure that each and every member of their team is not just following, but engaging with the change process and actively participating in it. And yes, communication is key to ensuring everyone understands and embraces the process.

At the end of the day, Change Management is the job of a leader. Effective Change Management though, is the work of a great leader. 




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