Do you manage change or inspire people? 

Change Management is an interesting topic that runs around in a corporate circle.

Inspire ChangeMany portents it with managing change that happens at an organizational level. I have had the chance to know more of this phrase through a close friend of mine who was involved in change management project of a whole province in India where she had to implement a technological change in a government sector. Hence, my thoughts on change management have some link to the so-called principles of change management that organizations adopt to make things happen. There are plenty written on this topic and many models and theories are available on this subject, however, does change management really mean managing change?

In my regular interaction with this friend of mine, I realized that technology is less spoken about in our conversations, but the humans involved in the technological change is more a matter of concern. It’s always to do with people behavior towards change that the leader wants. It’s all about certain core competencies in people that leaders struggle with while leading people towards a perceived change. Hence why would it be managing change? Shouldn’t it be managing humans?

How can you manage change? Change is something that had been transformed into or that had been evolving into or what one wants it to be from what it is now and what it has been all these while. It has probably been moved from what it was in the midst of being managed. Hence, the act of management was and is there when change is happening or when the change happened. You don’t need to manage change, it happens and it becomes a new way of life.

To me, change management is an oxymoron. What need to be managed is the people who need to accept the change. Change is there already and is the “present” now or a foreseen state of “expected present”.

 Trying to manage change would be futile. It’s like when you relocate to a place, there is a big change that you would face in a new place in terms of place, lifestyles, culture, people, environment, rules, laws etc. It has happened or you knew it was happening. The change is the present situation of a future scenario. All that you would do is to manage yourself in the new place. So it’s managing self that is important and not managing change. Change is constant and what needs to be changed is one’s behavior and approaches to handling the unforeseen or anticipated situation or the desired result.

You cannot manage change. Foreseeing, identifying, accepting, planning and responding to/dealing with the consequences of change are the important issues. These are what I term as “change management”.

We can elicit and manage certain technical processes involved in achieving the change you want to. We cannot “manage” the human side of it.

We humans are unpredictable and in groups, the dynamic and chemistry of our interaction is even more so. It’s a fallacy to believe this can be “managed”.

The term Manage doesn’t suit here when we talk of change management. What matters is inspiring people to accept change.

Human beings need to feel invited, encouraged and inspired to actively play a role in driving the organization to achieve the new desired status.

They need a purpose, or at the very least, a good reason. What leaders need to practice is on how to inspire people and build a drive for action in them to make them embrace change that the organization is going through or the organization desires to achieve.

If human beings are not inspired, the change that you want is no way going to be a reality. It just becomes a destiny left to be formed by itself.

A true leader is one who dreams of the destiny and shapes it well through managing people rather inspiring people. Sometimes people don’t need to know the destiny of an organization. A good leader will occupy their minds with excitement, inspiration, the energy that translates into action and before people realizes, the change that the leader visualized would have become a way of life.

All that matters in so-called change management if it has to be termed so in today’s corporate world is to inspire people to be engaged with their heads, hearts, and hands in the organizations to bring that desired change.

 A leader has a great role to play, rather an only role to play in cultivating that need to make people feel part of something big, bringing a sense of belonging and driving them in that meaningful journey and making sure that their contributions are acknowledged mindfully. And then you will see change being embraced well or rather managed well to make meaning out of the oxymoron – “change management”.

I leave this note of mine here with thoughts in your mind on whether its managing change or inspiring people for desired change that matters?

Written by Binu Prasad. 

Note: The above blog article is my own interpretation of the subject.

Image: Courtesy Google. 

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