If change is continuous, what is there to manage?
If change is so constant, why do we take the tried-and-true techniques to change management?
Dave Gray takes this familiar sentiment - that change has become a constant - and takes it in a different direction. Change is changing
Change is accelerating, to the point where it will soon be nearly continuous. Periods of sustained competitive advantage are getting shorter, and there are a host of studies that confirm that this. It’s not just something that is happening in technology, either. It’s happening in every industry.
Rather than going down some old familiar paths in a discussion about change and change management, he suggests that the whole field needs to rethink what it does. Change management as a means to get you from State A to State B becomes much less important when you are already at State Y and seeing new States coming by every other week.
Dave suggests that rather than one "change" to manage it is an entire portfolio of moves that the organization is trying. And it is that portfolio that should be managed.
This puts me in mind of a couple ideas that are running around these days. One is Dave Snowden's sense-and-respond ideas built into the Cynefin framework. He is also a big proponent of safe-to-fail experiments: give something a try, make it quick and cheap, see where it goes, and redirect as you learn new things. This then brings to mind the ideas around John Hagel's The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion and Stephen Denning's The Leader's Guide to Radical Management which both advocate using ideas borrowed from Lean / Agile communities of fast iterations toward a goal that isn't completely obvious at the outset.
The discussion on Dave's post is extensive too. Not everyone agrees, which is just fine. There probably is still room for Big Change initiatives, but they need to be balanced with the small changes that are happening all over. A portfolio view of the whole picture could be the right way to go.
Previous entry: Behind the Cloud
Next entry: You can only do one thing at a time