Opted For Big Box Change Management? Opportunity Lost.

CHANGE MATTERSTHERE IS A TREND I see today that is especially disturbing. Big Box Change Management. You know what I’m talking about. You have a big project with a big consulting company and you just add change management into the scope. You might not even ask how it will be done or what will be done. You know you have to do it; you are too busy to think about it, so you just call the head consultant and add it in. There. Check it off your list. Done!

Big mistake.

Big box change management comes in and takes care of everything. You don’t have to take responsibility; your people don’t have to take responsibility. Everyone just does what he or she is told; good, bad or indifferent. And then the project is over, the changes are in place – more or less – and the consultants go out the door.

And here you sit. You are no more competent in making changes in your organization than you were before this project. You don’t understand what is making this change work, or not. You don’t even understand what you could do to alter your trajectory or what little tweaks would make a difference. You don’t know any of this because you hired the Big Box Store of Change Management to take care of it for you.

So the change works, or doesn’t. Maybe it works for a while, maybe not. Either way in about 6 months you need/want/have to make another change. No matter how big or how small you can’t do it alone, because you haven’t built your skills in this area.

So you call up the Big Box Store and start the cycle all over again.

There is another way. Learn how to manage through change yourself. Instead of hiring a Big Box Consulting Firm to do your job, do it yourself. Hire someone who will teach you, and everyone in your organization about change from all angles. From the implementer to the recipient, all have an important role to play. Hire a person who can guide but also help you take responsibility and accountability for the success of your change. Someone who can help you figure out the ways to manage through the change so that it is successful 100% of the time, every time. I’m not talking about doing some ‘training’, I’m talking about someone that will work with you and your team every step of the way. OJT – the very best kind.

Being able to change early and often, successfully, will be the great differentiator between a business’s success or failure in the future. By outsourcing that skillset you are losing the opportunity to be on the winning side of that. Yes, it is infinitely easier to abdicate responsibility and call that Big Box Consultant. But it doesn’t serve your organization’s successful future.

Pick up the phone. Call a really good change management practitioner whose goal is your education and skill building, not lining their pockets with profits. Partner with them and make the skill of managing through change successfully a priority, for each and every one of your employees.


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Chris Pehura

Total agree. But I would add a caveat to it. There are different kinds of change and when getting an expert, it’s best to get one that knows them all. The areas that come to mind include:
1. culture change
2. organizational change
3. leadership change
4. process change
5. behavioral change

The key to effective change is that no one operates in a vacuum. As a individual, you can drive all five of these changes — assuming you the the understanding and tools.

The change I had with change consultants (aka management consultants) in my industry is that many have a “system” that focuses on a narrow view of change. And when you get into complicated change, their system falls apart. Then a big blame game goes around. And sometimes people get fired.

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