The Only Constant is Change

As with most of us working in the HR and related realms I’m regularly involved with and talking to people about change management. Change management is an ongoing and ever evolving beast reflecting one of my favourite quotes, whose origin I’m unsure of (but please enlighten me if you know) “The only constant is change”. Given the way the world is moving and the speed with which technology is continually shaping and reshaping work and work practices it pays to be open to change, and in roles such as ours to get change right.

I hesitate to say get change “right” because in this rapidly moving world with its constantly changing facets can we really get change right?  I propose taking practices from currently popular methodology such as Agile, Scrum and Lean principles and adapting or implementing them into our change management process would go a long way to achieving the desired result. By utilising continuous communication and integration, a feedback loop, specified time frames for decision making and implementation, remaining flexible and having a “right” for “right now” approach Change Management has the ability to transform from a phrase and situation many employees fear to one they can understand and work or be lead through.

This is where the human aspect comes in; by remaining mindful of individuals and stakeholders, treating them with respect and dignity throughout the change management process along with suggested methods above would, I believe see a successful outcome.

A successful outcome for most organisations is one whereby employee engagement and corporate culture is maintained (assuming these are not the targets of the change!) and where there is little to no impact to resulting productivity.

I started this post some time ago, and have been prompted to finish off and post it after two things that crossed my path yesterday. First was Anna Russell’s article The Silence of Suffering which discussed a recent workshop on leading teams through change – a constant in a corporate environment. She related her experiences in the workshop to those of a professional athlete with some insightful suggestions and solutions for teams and leaders.

Second I participated in the tail end of a weekly twitter chat with a fantastic community of contributors lead by @lizardvanilla, the recap of which can be found here. The discussion was around leadership through uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, the styles and values needed in leaders to do so and how they might foster organisational agility. Some fascinating points of view, all largely reflecting my post above.

Final thoughts…change management and transformations within corporate environments need to bring the employees on a journey, get them on board and include them from the outset through communication and genuine feedback. Lead and teach employees to become agile thinkers, to accept change as a constant and an opportunity. Encourage leaders, employees and those in transformational roles to remain flexible and make the best decisions possible with all resources and information available right now – and be prepared to change tack!