Change Management Tools Must Come from Within

Change Management: Drive or Thrive? Another View.

In my experience, you can't drive change, you can only cultivate it; should our thinking on management of change be changed to cultivating change?

The term, "Change Management" is misleading. Not all change is an improvement, and driving change means it depends on you to drive it: You stop, or go away, it fizzles. What works best, an improvement project, or when improvement is part of everyday work?

Rather than Change Management tools, I wonder what would happen if you put the right system in place, then let everything evolve?

Create a situation in which improving is second nature.

What would we call this? What is "the right system?" I am not sure if you can call it change management, nor that there is a set of tools, or a method that will work everywhere and for everyone, even with "engagement" and "passion" from the top. Is there really such a thing as "management of change?"

Change, or better, improvement, can be built into your system rather than "managed" in. It is what kind of system you create that defines what kinds of results you get, and how those results are achieved. We put far too much weight on leaders, and few leaders really understand that leading is as much about the system you build as it is about charisma.

Charisma or Kharma?

  • Aggressive bosses can and have created good systems, like Steve Jobs, though they may not be fun to work with.
  • There can be all kinds of effective leaders if the system functions well.
  • Merely assertive ones; Thinkers; Doers
  • The emotionally intelligent and the less so

    Every business, every organization, is different to some degree. To improve daily is not easy. It takes knowing a thing or two and some false starts, even some failures, and that takes time and resources. But once the improvement beast is out of its cage and into the system, it is hard to stop.

    Business as usual –results as usual.

    If you change the way you look at your world, you change your world. If you look the same way, no matter what you do, there you are.

    I worked at the Ritz Carlton when I was a Chef. The "Quality" of the Ritz was communicated daily by the actions of the people who worked there, many of whom had been there for decades. It soaked through every part of the system: "Ritzy" quality. Touched by it, you left a different person.

    tina turnerthe one and only                 

    We don't need another hero.

    To me, the gold standard is what Peter Scholtes called an environment where there are no heroes and everyone can rise to their own level of ability. There are no pre-packaged change management tools that can do this, only patience, intelligence, dialogue and time.

    One older woman, who had worked for 50 years at the hotel, in the pantry, for just over minimum wage, used to insert herself into your work if you even got close to squeezing the orange deep enough to release the white bitter pith into the juice. The passion didn't come from the top, it came from within, and was everywhere.

    One of the things I often heard was "you can do it that way elsewhere, but not at the Ritz." In fact, cooks at other places used to say "what do you think you're doing, cooking at the Ritz?" (when you got too fussy.  At the Ritz they said, "you're not cooking for the Pope you know.")

    How does one create an organization where people work with passion and refuse to leave, long after retirement age. Is it change management, or something else?

    Salary had nothing to do with it, I assure you.

    Also see:

    The Change

    The Change 2.: Running the Business, Ethical Decision Making and Problem Solving Strategies

    The Change 3: Victory on the Gallon Line and Beyond

    ​and, The Uncorporate Academy: Resources for World of Working 

    About the Author

    Dan Strongin works with medium to small companies, helping them master the art and science of managing.