« What To Learn From Swallows | Main | Not Good To Be King »

60 Moments

As I started to formulate the topic for this entry Andy Rooney came to mind. You have seen old episodes of 60 Minutes where the old curmudgeon would come on the screen with a nasally whine and complain about something that most of us would consider inane.

While I don’t want this to come off that way, I do have somewhat of a complaint to air, and also propose a solution for. You see, it kind of drives me crazy when people use the term Change Management imprecisely. Before we go forward, stop and take a moment to think of what your definition of change management is. I’ll wait while you think it through and maybe even write it down.

Feline Curmudgeon

OK, so I have heard the same term used to represent four pretty different things. They go something like this:

1) Change Management = the process for effectively managing scope changes within a technology project.
2) Change Management = the methods for minimizing the resistance to planned organizational changes
3) Change Management = the meta-methodology utilized to drive the transformation of an organization from the current state to a future state
4) Change Management = the process of reducing headcount in an organization through layoffs

I have fairly good evidence of these four due to the Google search I have automated, providing me new postings daily from across the World Wide Web on the topic. Virtually all of the different postings will fall into one of these four categorical definitions. However, I think it is confusing and can cause professionals to get into difficulty when attempting to communicate their intentions around doing something about one of these important business issues.

For purposes of clarity I would like to suggest four different, more precise terms to represent each of the four topics, as follows:

1 = Change Control
2 = Change Readiness
3 = Business Transformation
4 = Workforce Deployment

Now, with that out of the way we might want to ask the question, what relevance does this all have or is this just another inane whining in the spirit of that Sunday evening TV news program?

The relevance for me is that each of the four topics can be connected to a CRM program and I think it is useful to not get them confused. Two of them are more important to me than the others where I spend a lot of time focusing .

Change Readiness is really critical to CRM programs because almost all involve the introduction of new technology into the organization. Historically, organizations have done rather poorly accommodating technology change – mostly because the resistance to the technology has been ignored rather than managed.

My favorite way to illustrate this is with the 1959 motion picture The Battle of the Sexes. This movie starring Peter Sellers is totally mis-titled because the story line is all about the introduction of a computer into a well running office and how the employees go about sabotaging the technology in order to fight the change. It is both hysterical and a biting satire on the struggles businesses encounter harnessing the power of technology. Plus, it was decades ahead of its time. Check it out.

Most CRM projects that fail do so because the resistance to the technology change is not addressed properly. I spend significant effort helping clients with this aspect of CRM programs.

Business Transformation is also another critical topic for a subset of CRM programs. There are times when the strategy for the program involves making substantial changes to the way work is performed, which is due to substantial changes to the strategy, policies, and approach the organization is taking in the market place. Under these circumstances the CRM program needs to focus on changing the organization, not just introducing some new technology along with some accompanying process modifications.

Transforming a business takes more planning, more resources, more expertise across a wider range of functions, and much, much stronger commitment from the executive team than the average run-of-the-mill implementation of Salesforce.com. This too is an area where I focus much of my attention with client organizations.

If Andy were delivering this in a monologue, he would probably then go on to complain that confusing Business Transformation with something like Change Control is dangerous and that people should get their act together and call things by their correct names. Yes, managing scope is different from managing sweeping business change, so perhaps he would be right to a tantrum.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)