by Michael Friedenberg

The Trials of Change Management

Mar 15, 20062 mins
IT Leadership

It’s always fascinating to see how companies make decisions to improve their business and the value they deliver to customers. These can be sweeping changes, like Konica Minolta’s decision to get out of the camera and film business, Intel moving from a chip-maker with the slogan “Intel Inside” to an integrator with the motto “Leap Ahead,” or Nike transforming itself from a sneaker company to an apparel company. Or they can be subtler changes that set the tone for a new way of doing business: Starbucks selling music; 2005 CIO Enterprise Value Award Grand Winner GM launching OnStar (see “Highway to Value,”; Apple releasing video-enabled iPods. These are all bold moves by companies that looked at their current landscape and said it was time either to pull the weeds or expand the horizon.

These are risky and difficult decisions that impact the structure and culture of an organization. And when change comes, people react in one of three ways: One group will immediately hop aboard, another will fight the change with all their might, and the third set will freeze like deer in the headlights. These last are talented, thoughtful people who know the train is leaving but are not sure if they should get on or off. And they may not understand that another train is never going to come down the track.

As business technology leaders, you know how to manage the first two groups. Nurture the leaders. Cut bait on the resisters. But what do you do with the last group? If they stay in no-man’s land too long, they could paralyze your organization. How much time do you give them? How do you help them to see the opportunity through the fear, uncertainty and doubt? What leadership and management philosophies do you have to share?

The one constant in today’s market is change, and people will continue to either embrace or reject it. I would love to learn how you communicate your company’s vision and motivate your team to move forward. Please send me your thoughts so we can continue this dialogue on Because, as the “Monkey Bar Law” goes, you have to let go at some point in order to move forward.