Maybe a little early for this post, but now would be the time to plan if I am accurate.
Last year I guessed (with selfish intent of course) that corralled groups of change practitioners would appear inside organizations. I was dead on correct. They are variously called “Centers of Expertise”, “Change Entities”, “Change Management Function” and “Change Management Group”. Change Entity is my term because I think status quo structure (performance management, reporting arrangements and the effects of internal politics) gets in the way of change, and the change practitioners ability to effect change. Regardless of the name or the relationship within the organization this is a much-needed 2012 addition.
I also took a stab at third-party arrangements and the fact that they put a wall in between the two people leading change, the owner and the high level practitioner. Contingent arrangements, sorry kids I have to use this word, are just DUMB for high level change. Despite what procurement says this arrangement does not save money and causes all kinds of hidden costs and angst. Happy I am to relay, clients are starting to get just as irritated as the true consultants stuck in this scenario. They now talk about the difficulty of getting high level consultants in (and keeping them there), the disappearance of any connection between efforts and the endless supply of templates and plans that end up accomplishing little but checks on the to do list. It’s as if I told them this was going to happen…
2012 already has a slew of higher level roles. The rates are going up, some markedly. The complaints about low-level talent are escalating. And there is a balance beginning to be understood about the need for external and internal roles.
So for 2013:
- More engagements will be direct with consultants. If this practice has not hit your area you may be saved from it (I say that to both consultants AND clients).
- Problems will arise around those change groups that were formed. As with most change senior consultants will be in demand to patch things up.
- Change practitioners will begin to be included very early in the process and high up. This is already starting to happen. One version is to bring someone in for something currently in the process and use them to set up the next thing at the same time. Good stuff.
- Change Management will mature just a little more with push back against “scientific” approaches and a move to the art based on the science.
- Since there is going to be a bubble of demand (once the first owner twitches and spends money for growth the rest are going to panic) in 2013 consultants will gain the upper hand (in a good way for them and client results, we have to feed our families and there is a lot of parked cash).
- The mini battle amongst practitioners between linear project support CM and higher level program perspective will continue (well past 2013).