Too Much Change (Management); Research Says Otherwise

Seems like over the course of many complex NGKF consulting efforts clients present the issue of change management in a negative light; sharing apprehensive statements like “It will ruin our plans”; “The organization cannot handle it”; “The capacity for change is limited”; or the all-too-common “It’s not the right time. Let's delay the project”.

I just returned from my fifth straight year attending the Wharton Leadership Conference‎ in Philadelphia, and this year Accenture kicked off the annual event. Keeping with the “Leading to Make a Difference” theme, the speaker discussed a recent survey of over 500 CEO and Operational Executives and the findings were as delightful as they were insightful. Below is a sampling:
Myth: Too much change, too fast, is destructive to the organization.
Research Says: High performing groups have more change taking place in the workplace and usually at a "healthy" pace.
Myth: Change takes organizations off course, inhibits profitability and leads to dysfunction.
Research Says: Change does not cause organizational dysfunction; it merely exposes it.
Myth: Change has to be top down; the "C" Suite has to not only be involved in the change concept but own it.
Research Says: Change radiates out from the center of the organization. The “C” Suite has to set the vision, remove barriers, be an impactful catalyst and embrace the end state.
I loved this positive perspective on change management but I think it makes more sense with one small finding coming from my own observations from 30 years of experience in management consulting:
Myth: Leadership and organizational sponsors will rise to the occasion no matter the resources that are available.
“Hess” Research Says: Risk-minded firms fail to manage sensible change much more than opportunity-minded firms. The latter has a greater "capacity" to design a change platform that cannot fail.
What do you think?

*The source of this post was a speech given by Deborah Brecher, (Managing Director, Accenture) titled “Unlocking the Capabilities of the Workforce of the Future in a Digital Age”, at Wharton’s 20th Annual Leadership Conference on June 15, 2016.

Robert Hess
Executive Managing Director, GCS

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