in Leading Change

Change Management Essentials – 5 Things To Avoid

Most organizational/team improvement initiatives we undertake involve change – from current state of affairs to desired state. Change is hard and painful and necessary for growth/survival. Process improvement is all about managing change – and in my view, change (and its respective benefits) does not happen when you:

  • Keep thinking big without starting small: It is easy to get overwhelmed by the large goals you have set for improvement. But remember – the best way to eat an elephant is one piece at a time. Focus on big, but start small. Think about a few key things you can do now, that will take you one step nearer to your goal. You don’t make things better by thinking about it, but by doing something about it.
  • You focus solely on “enforce” rather than “enable” and “educate”: Changing habits and hence culture is a long term thing. Unless there is enough buy-in for a change, it does not happen. Best way to implement change is to educate people, enable them and hence empower them. Enforcement only results in dispassionate compliance.
  • Think too much about things you cannot change: There are things you just can’t do anything about. Worrying too much about them means loosing focus on what is in your control. I remember a prayer which says, “God, grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” Be wise!
  • You think change is all about processes: Its not. Change is all about people and their habits. Processes are merely tools that guides them through the change process. Process acts as a compass, but people follow it. Lot of process consultants overly focus on compliance, standards and processes. Focus on people instead, and processes will not only be adhered to, but also improved upon by the same set of people.
  • Are a “sole warrior” in improvement/change initiative: If you are the only one who wants change in an organization, it doesn’t happen. All improvement initiative needs sponsorship from the top. People observe people at the top and emulate behaviors. Setting right examples and taking improvement initiative seriously goes a long way in building a constantly improving culture.

But why do we change, you may ask! This quote (I read it somewhere on Twitter) answers your question: “We change when the pain to change is less than the pain to remain as we are.

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!

  1. 1st point is all about the preparation towards your goal.
    2nd point is all about convincing people for accepting change without enforcing them.
    3rd point is too important as per my view, let it be just do it. what you want to do don’t think too much about the things which you can’t control or when you are totally unaware of the future path.
    4th & 5th points are about what and how to implement the process, As a technical person we don’t want to follow this burden but if process should be people instead that can be followed by any one willingly.
    Again Thanks a lot for a wonderful post, Very tough topic in such a easy language.

    • @Megha – Thanks for your support as always, which I totally appreciate. I am glad you liked the post!

  2. Firstly, I would like to Thank Tanmay for bringing out one of the most important and crucial sphere of Management, The Change Management. All points covered here are so healthy in their contents that we simply feel that it’s pure fact recipe being served.
    Bringing about changes in any department, practices or methodologies, demands well built strategies and points plotted above are core things to be taken into consideration.
    Clear thoughts from a clear mind! Thanks Sir for sharing these fundamentals.

  3. These 5 pointers on what not to do if you want to implement lasting organizational change are excellent.

    I particularly like your 2nd point about focussing on enforcement. This is so true and far too many businesses fall into the trap of thinking that once they have told people that things have to change they will do it without question. Of course, we all know that everyone needs to be involved with, encouraged and assisted through major changes in order for them to succeed – or maybe not everyone who should know it actually does!

    Great post – thanks.
    .-= Paul Slater´s last blog ..Leading In Adversity =-.

  4. True points. Especially #4: it is all about the people. In the end, the strength of processes is the room they give people to improvise in unforeseen situations. No standard will ever encompass all situations. That is where the quality of your people shows.

  5. @Jay – Thanks for the affirmation Jay. I am so glad you liked the post. Change is the only constant, and hence it is important for us to know how to manage it, and what “not” to do there.


  6. @Paul – Thanks for the comment and spreading the word on Twitter Paul.

    As you rightly pointed out, telling people does not mean they will implement change. They need to be educated (more than once) and assisted through the change. Most importantly, they need to buy-in the need for change. Without a human approach, that is difficult to attain.

    I am so glad you liked the post!

    Thanks again,


  7. @Hans – Thanks for comment and Twitter RT.

    In manufacturing world, process ruled people because people were used to operate machines. In knowledge oriented world, processes are simply tools that make people more effective. Process then is not the key, people are.

    Thanks again,


  8. First point reminds me one of interview of our Legend Mr. Amitabh Bhachchan, where he has mentioned that he has still not reached to his destination. He is still learning and once he reaches to a milestone he thinks of next milestone.

    Keep writing.

    Niraj Shah

    • @Niraj – Thanks for commenting and sharing Bachchan the GREAT’s viewpoint on excellence!

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