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21 Feb 2011

Change Management – Tactic #1: Pick the Right Moment

This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series Change Management Tips

Change Management & Effecting ChangeEven though it spoke primarily to minimizing medical costs, the article, The Hot Spotters, by Atul Gawande in the January 24, 2011 issue of The New Yorker had much relevancy to change management. It covered five tactics to do so and crystallized many of my experiences. This post covers one tactic. Four future posts will cover the others.

The first tactic is picking the right moment. Everything has its time. You don’t paint when it’s raining, for instance. Effecting change is no different. As discussed previously, crises are excellent opportunities for effecting change. In another post, research indicated failure a better teacher than success. Teachable moments are a more moderate and individual form of this.

In organizations, divisions and teams, picking the right moment is more difficult. Here are a few:

  • A particularly good or bad performance
  • The gain or loss of a large account or piece of business
  • Acquisition or sell-off
  • Integration of new technology
  • Layoffs and budget cuts
  • Good or bad press
  • Other game changing events

However, these events usually generate much activity in the form of capitalizing on or minimizing these situations. So, we miss tons of opportunities to effect change when we need to be asking:

  • “What freshness can we add to keep the momentum going (or minimize the downturn)?”
  • “What new actions can we take?”
  • “What new ideas can we employ?”

Yes, people will likely squawk about having a lot on their plate, but remember change is about motion. Activity creates motion we can use. You can’t change the direction of something that’s not moving. That’s why you can’t wait for “slow time” to effect change. Besides, it’s usually too late by then.


Series NavigationChange Management – Tactic #2: Strengthen Relationships >>

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