Change Implementation Disillusion; or the Audacity of Change?
Just one year ago, I contacted a CIO and proposed my training and coaching service for a large change project that they would implement internationally, with a budget of nearly a billion of euros.
Just for clarity, I’ll name the CIO “Collins”.
Collins assured me that they had the best employees to carry the project in-house, including some external consultant from a well-known company. Some of the leaders were following a change-management training and using a well-known method. Therefore my help would be obsolete.
I explained to the CIO that things may not go as smoothly as he thought and why. To which he said “thank you” and politely turned down my offer to help.
A few days ago, I reconnected with Collins to see if I could help with anything. The first question he had for me was “How did you know all that?”
Surprised, I asked, “May I please ask you to clarify what ‘all that’ means?”
Collins then went on to explain to me how he spent part of his end-of-year holiday thinking about the conversation we had back in the beginning of the year. He first thought that it was pretentious for me to warn him about several pitfalls, considering his 28 years of experience and the caliber of the team and resources the organization had. But now, they were experiencing just what I had warned him about, which caused him some sleepless nights.
Collins asked again, “Did you read about that in a book?”
“No,” I answered, “but I wish I had. More than reading about that, I lived, experienced and studied that. However, I’ve been writing the book that I wished had warned me about that and it will be available in a few months.”
Looking back on my career, a few years ago I was so challenged by two change projects that I decided to challenge change implementation right back. With that I created and developed an outstanding change management and leadership coaching program. Here are a few golden points.
- It is never people that are disengaged but visions that are disengaging.
- Many highly competent change leaders perform less while implementing change due to high emotional stress and how the human brain functions. They need an outsider coach to perform best. It is scientifically proven.
- Matrix organization is economic but with low team spirit, it increases cost as it decreases production.
- Two top bottlenecks in change implementation in order of impact are 1: the leaders and 2: the team. Invest in them before the technology and methodology.