In an age of disruptive change, it is ironic that a self-titled profession of change management has proliferated from the IT and related fields.
Simple. The change-management methods employed by the vast majority of organisations are industrial-age models, arising out of IT and related fields, which fail to grasp the deep psychological differences between technical and adaptive change.
One of Australias top HR leaders bemoaned recently how her organisations change agenda had been hijacked by what she called project management specialists masquerading as experts in people change. She complained, They think everything can be boxed into a project with neat milestones and end dates. Just when they think the change has finished, thats when the real transition actually begins. We then get to pick up the pieces!
I had the privilege to be the chief psychologist for the Australian Olympic Team in Sydney, where we had a total team of just under 1,000 people, made up of 27 sports and multiple support units such as medical, logistics, and administration. Nimble? Yes. Adaptive? Yes. Change-management department? No.
Over the past decade, two other experiences are rather telling.
First, while researching a book on high-performance leadership with PwC Consulting, we interviewed world leaders in special military services, emergency medicine, science, and expeditions. Nimble? Yes. Adaptive? Yes. Change-management department? No.
Second, over the past two years while researching and writing the recently published First Be Nimble, and working with a number of Australias fast-moving enterprises, it became clear that the most nimble organisations dont even talk about change management, let alone create a separate team to lead it!
These agile, leading-edge enterprises are a generation ahead of the conventional change should be managed by experts approach in the way that they infuse the capabilities and habits of adaptability and change resilience directly into front-line leaders and teams.
Three habits stand out in this approach, and they offer HR an opportunity to regain leadership over the whole area of change readiness and agility.
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