All Management is Change Management

Synopsis of an article from HBR, by Robert H. Schaffer, Published 26th October 2017

This article provides an important context for management, that in effect to seperate out change from day to day management is actually removing the central aspect of the role. Rather than making change a specialty role, it is central to the accountability of the leader. He suggests there are ways to empower leaders and staff with tools to focus on continuous change and continuous improvement.

Schaffer states “The job of management always involves defining what changes need to be made and seeing that those changes take place. Even when the overall aim is stability, often there are still change goals: to reduce variability, cut costs, reduce the time required, or reduce turnover, for example. Once every job in a company is defined in terms of the changes to be made (both large and small), constant improvement can become the routine. Each innovation brings lessons that inform ongoing operations. The organization becomes a perpetual motion machine. Change never occurs as some sort of happening; it is part of everyday life.”

He goes on to explain that when managers start to view change as a special event requiring different skills or as someone else’s responsibility, then it becomes easy for people to become resistant to any change.

The answer this article proposes is to focus the team and on some specific short term stretch goals with tasks for the leaders to identify innovative steps that can close the gaps and potentially achieve the goals. This process of continuing to identify the stretch goals, collaborating on how to identify ways to improve and achieve then peer reviewing the process becomes a continual improvement process.

Instilling continual improvement into the leadership is enabling those same leaders to develop the capacity to lead continual change “while their people develop the capacity to implement it”.

Read the full article here on HBR

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