Commercial Performance Leader for the Industry 

Let's talk about ... Change Management


The turbulent business world today is all about adapting to new circumstances. These circumstances change all the time and they change faster than ever. Change is accelerating and changes are happening in parallel, affecting each other causing increased complexity. And in my previous articles I wrote about the people side of this which makes it even more challenging as profiles and characters play a role. And organizations struggle to keep up with the need for change. So more and more we tend to seek rescue by saying 'it's all about change management', hoping this may be a valid excuse for limited performance improvement. So what is the essence of change management? Let me share my views on this with you.


In fact when I hear people in business refer to change management, I hear them say 'be careful as there's a limit to the speed with which we can drive performance, and that limit is defined by our people'. So we need to go about Business Performance improvement fully in line with the intrinsic capabilities of our organization, which consists of people. So business performance is defined by the competitive landscape, economic circumstances and some other micro- and macro-economic factors. But not only that, it's maybe mostly defined by the people we have in our respective organizations. In my previous article I mentioned Resourcing for Performance as a driver for Business Performance and Business Transformation. But managing the people side of change is another key element to bear in mind.


One thing is for sure, we can not change people and there's a limit to always have the right mix of people at the right moment. For sure not if market dynamics change faster and unexpectedly while complexity increases. There's another factor however that CAN be influenced and tweaked on an ad-hoc basis which is called leadership and leadership style. 'Lead for performance' can be expected from any manager (or rather: leader) working in a dynamic business environment where business performance improvement is a key objective. Leadership styles can also be adapted to circumstances quite easily and senior leaders are expected to have a number of styles in their toolkit to change as and when required. I think this is called situational leadership and I assume you knew this already but just to underline this is not new and is available; provided you have the right leaders in the role.


So, let's talk about change management I promised. Well, apparently this is a science also. But I think we sometime make Change Management to complicated. Simplifying things has always been a good way to secure progress so let's do it here again. In my opinion, the definition of change management is not a lot more than 100% daily dedication by a senior leader to secure his people understand and accept what's required to drive business performance and empower them to do so according to their own personal professional ability. In other words, manage the team effort and trust the individual professional abilities.


But I mentioned one important word in the previous section that is often easily overlooked and certainly underestimated. I mentioned the word 'senior' and this is probably the key to it all. Without seniority and solid previous experience, no business can expect a leader to lead change and guide his team through complexity. This leader will have limited abilities to manage change. This will limit the power to change for the business involved and will have a deteriorating effect on business performance, let alone business performance improvement. One thing is to keep business performance as-is, but if the world changes and competition is smarter and faster, an opportunity is left on the table and in fact business performance is not stable but goes down. Especially in businesses where market intelligence and market share information is not always readily available, this could be a silent killer to performance!


In summary, change management is all about people + leadership. Senior leadership can maximize pace and impact each with a direct relationship to business performance.


Let's change!


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