Change management: The new deal

N°233a – Synopsis (8p.) – Change Management
Change management: The new deal
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Nowadays, change no longer consists in moving organizations from a stable starting point to a stable target point. How can we revisit change management best practices to take into account this reality?

Change management is a central theme for management research and publications. Indeed, the ability to execute change successfully is the very essence of corporate strategy and a key factor of lasting business success. Everyone would thus very much like to find the magic formula to make change easier and more lasting. In reality, change remains difficult to implement and anchor over time, even if a set of best practices can help surmount or manage recurring obstacles more effectively.

The acceleration of change has made this even more challenging in recent years. Increasingly, organizational and strategic transformations follow one another in rapid succession, leaving those impacted in a state of confusion. And overlaps between large-scale change projects aren’t rare, because companies must react quickly to changes in their environment. A 2013 Katzenbach Center survey showed that 65 % of senior executives consider the lassitude generated by these successive changes to be a real issue.

In this context, the central principles of change management deserve to be revisited. The authors we have consulted draw our attention to four points in particular:

- Be sure to engage people around tangible opportunities that can be seized immediately, rather than merely around a strategic vision.

- Entrust change management projects to a broad network within the organization, and not just to a dedicated project team.

- Communicate intensively on the local level to engage people more effectively than with traditional institutional messages.

- Devote significant effort to institutionalize change over time. When one change succeeds another, companies must be especially vigilant to ensure that the implemented transformations are properly consolidated.

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