What Does "Change Management" Mean in Today's World?

I get together with a number of colleagues from my network from time to time to explore areas of professional interest that overlap with foresight / future studies, for example organisational development, change leadership, and coaching. These sessions are not designed to come up with a full diagnosis and comprehensive set of solutions, but an opportunity to "shoot the breeze" over an interesting question.

A common thread for all of us is a desire to understand how an emerging and potentially radically different future might look and feel to people. We ground our thinking on what we experience in our day to day practice, explore the similarities and differences in our observations and understanding of the potential implications of plausible solutions for a human focused future. You can read about our first meeting, Collaborating for a New Future here.

At our last meeting, we considered the question, “What does change management mean in today's world?”

We are not necessarily seeking answers, but the questions we pose are thought provoking. The key themes to emerge from this recent discussion were Agility, Change Forces, Human Centricity, Leading Change and Organisational Culture. There were a number of questions and observations that emerged under each theme. Here some examples of critical questions:

Agility – How does culture impact the ability of the organisation to respond quickly and effectively to change?

Change Forces - How do we recognise when is the right time to change? In addition to political, economic, social, and technological drivers, what does the pace and scale of change mean for the organisation?

Human Centricity - What role does the human body play in how we naturally / instinctively experience change? Are our natural responses to uncertainty pitting us against change processes as well as the change situation?

Leading Change – What are the crucial skills and capabilities required to help leaders facilitate change? What are the critical characteristics of effective change? How do we enable human-centric change?

Organisational Culture - What role does culture play in how organisations operate, change, lead, and grow during periods of uncertainty? How do we create environments at work (within the context of change) that employees are content in?

Also of note and worth considering in the context of your own organisation when you embark on change programmes:

  • Does your organisation acknowledge “not knowing” as part of learning and developing rather than weakness?
  • How do you develop a sense of value in uncertainty and change?
  • Does your organisation have a mind-set of experimentation and action to prevent it becoming "stuck" in the present?

Image Source: Gerd Altmann https://pixabay.com/photos/away-feet-shoes-road-surface-4610699/