The Invisibility Cloak

Posted on Aug 14, 2019

One of the biggest challenges of change management is that, when done at an expert level, it is invisible — great change management manifests as a lack of resistance. Unfortunately, this makes it very difficult to quantify.

In my experience, the main reason that clients seek out change management support is that they have been through a previous change (or even multiple changes) that was so painful that basic common sense tells them there HAS to be a better way. As one example, I once worked with a senior executive who wouldn’t implement any change without good change management support. When I asked him what had made him such a believer, he replied, “Failure. Lots and lots of failure.”

The problem is that, until you experience that level of pain, or even failure, it can be difficult to grasp how important effective change management really is. Ironically, a change going well can even result in an inexperienced leader concluding that the project didn’t really need change management help to begin with, or that they can lead their next change without that support.

Until we invent a time machine that will allow us to go back in time and complete the exact same project with the exact same people under the exact same conditions, it’s extremely difficult — and some would say impossible — to accurately measure the benefits of effective change management for a given project. Change management is fundamentally about human beings adopting a new way of doing things and, as such, each project is unique.

True change adoption is a gray, fuzzy area, which is why the “change management” on many projects is limited to just telling people what is changing without engaging them. And when your people then choose not to adopt the new way of doing things, the solution is quite often to just train them again, doing the same thing over and over again hoping for a different result.

There is a better way. Please contact me — I’d love to help you out.