‘Change is inevitable’…

This is a quote I have used lots of times in my career to-date, but when I tried to find out who this quote could be attribute to, I found many different claimants and many different variations.

I have heard change used in many different settings, both inside and outside of work. ‘Step change in culture’, ‘structure change’, ‘change in delivery’….you name it, change can be added to almost any word, whether process driven or otherwise. Of course, some people are more adaptable to change than others and I would argue some organisations are just the same. Change can create dread and fear in some, but can be welcomed by others.

I consider myself someone who is adaptable and embraces change, and I have been involved in my fair share of organisational change, some large scale, some small. Of course, there is always a driver for change, whether that be business driven, or person driven and it is important that this driver is clear to everyone concerned.

I am currently doing an MBA and have recently completed a whole unit and assignment covering change. There are of lots of change management theories, ranging from Lewin’s (1951) simple 3 stage process of change, right up to more modern theories like Oakland & Tanner’s (2007) Organisational Change Framework. The overriding theory is that, at least to some degree, change can be managed in some way. Of course, in reality it isn’t that simple. No amount of planning can always address every single possibility, but staying flexible while using these theories and having a clear goal in mind would be key aspects.

My argument has always been that change can broadly be experienced in three different ways:

  1. Some people embrace and welcome change, almost whatever this change may mean;
  2. Some people are unsure about any change and required some level of convincing;
  3. Some people are always unconvinced by change, no matter what this entails.

In reading this, I would surprised if you didn’t know of people who fit into each of these three categories and of course, they each need a different approach to bring them through the change. I am not in any way trying to pigeon-hole anyone into these boxes, but in reality a plan of action which groups like-minded staff together forms a good basis for any change action plan.