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chagne management Archives - Garrett's Change Management Blog

Fast Change Around Us- Time


Guess what lots of people around you now never use?


I know, right?

Surprised me too, the first time someone brought this up.

Then I started looking around. No watches.

(OK to be fair, no watches on anyone less than 40).

I keep looking and almost feel sorry for those people I find that do have watches. That is like being fully clothed at a nudist colony. Or finding yourself in a crowd unclothed.

What happened? What caused this Fast Change Around Us?

Screens. Screens all over the place have time on them. Phones certainly do. All of our fancy computers do. TV’s flash the time for certain things. We still have clocks everywhere (they will likely have some staying power).

Really, honestly, there is very little reason to have a watch anymore.

Except as a statement. Which brings us right to change and change management.

A watch will always be able to satisfy the function of time keeping- anywhere (even under water or in space). A watch will always be a fashion (whether it is fashionable or not is debatable). So, someone will ALWAYS wear a watch. And some people will ALWAYS wear watches.

Think about watches and then think about some things that become change initiatives. Is that new technology a quality functional replacement? Will the new function destroy previous form (is someone going to always want to wear a watch)? Does the new change have a form of its own? Can that become fashionable? Are you forcing everyone to “take off their watches” knowing that they will now have to carry a phone around (that is about 5 times bigger)? Can you justify adding things against that which is different?

If I don’t use all the stuff on my phone does it just make sense to have a watch?

Which, of course, is the drumroll for the Dick Tracy watch-that-is-a-phone. Cue Apple (of course).

Are you wearing a watch right now? If not you are part of the watch-less fast change around us movement.

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More Ways to Say “Change Management”

There are a lot of synonyms for change. We are in the “m’s” now:

Metamorphosis Management

Horizontal Change’s most popular post End State Focus uses a butterfly as an example of a change worth imagining and getting to (for the caterpillar in the metaphor).

Lots of change is transformational.

Were I to use Metamorphosis Management as a term it would be sparingly (not just because it is a little clunky). In the same way the word transformation needs to be used carefully. Both are one state to the next. Neither necessarily has transition spots in between. Maybe the cocoon, maybe some distinct spot in the timeline of behavior change for a stakeholder.

The carefulness in the use of the term should come from the knowledge that complete transformation constantly compared to the initial state makes no sense. The caterpillar has no idea what it means to be a butterfly. So comparisons make no sense, and so too “transitions”.

Good Metamorphosis Management would have stakeholders seeing, feeling, understanding and imagining being in, end states. There own little butterfly metamorphosis.

Modification Management

This one jumps out as something that might have to do with change that requires new behavior. Although on second thought that is a little psychologically creepy.

What this could be a term for is the process of tweaking lots of small things to make something bigger stronger and better.

It might be technical modification for change. It might be small behavior modification (simple things like shorter coffee breaks- or better, same length but always in conversation). It might be pattern and habit change, both for people and behaviors and for structural status quo.

Modulation Management

I admit I had to look up the actual meaning of modulation (I was close). One is to regulate proportion. The other to change pitch and tone in music.

Oh so many times proportions are controlled for change. Budget has its own modulation dial. Effort from stakeholders has an invisible dial (good luck finding it and getting it to actually work when you do). Leaders certainly modulate their ownership of change. Practitioners do not always modulate their communication- yes you CAN over communicate.

There are lots of times when I wish I had a modulation dial for change so I could do a little Modulation Management. I would sometimes turn things up and other times down. In rare cases stakeholders figure things out and do that on their own.

The tone version is to regulate silly sense of urgency. Urgency that appears on its own (I like to call excitement and sense of purpose) doesn’t need much management. You could say that kind has the perfect pitch.

Mutation Management

Mutation Management is funny.

This must be what you do when things get out of hand.

When the evolution of mistakes, missteps and wasted effort increases beyond your ability to control you need Mutation Management.

When the organization has grown arms, legs and tentacles that really serve no function and do not belong, the change itself may be an exercise in the management of mutations.

Novelty Management

I know what this one must be.

Too many ideas. Too many “cooks in the kitchen”.

Or maybe it is practitioners, or worse newly “named” internal consultants, trying stuff.

Believe me when it comes to change and the necessity to get to end states the novelty of new stuff to practice and try wears thin.

That is when you need Novelty Management.

It would nicely reward effort while directing energy and participation into places that tie into end states.

Today is our change synonym list for some big change, little changes, alien changes and the flood of ideas. The list gives us some new terms for “change management”.

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The Change Management Pivot Point


For every change initiative, it seems, there is a pivot point.

One thing is crucial for end state success. Without that one thing status quo just gets moved around to look different. Everyone dances around the pivot point afraid to touch it. Or everyone comes up with a long list of excuses not to insert a pivot point that is new or replaces something else in order to facilitate the change.

Some pivot points I have seen:

  1. Organization at a high enough level makes the decision to stop customization of technology.
  2. Front end pull software to erase the effects of email noise.
  3. Two executives, rather than just the owner, fully participate and are visible for the change.
  4. A low level leader stakeholder comes up with an idea that can fully facilitate the change.
  5. Executives switch responsibilities for a period of time to show connection (and be connected) to the change.

I see this list when made into subheadings illustrates some very important aspects of change management:


Customization (and its cousin creating in house) usually works in the moment and then comes back to haunt. Announcing zero customizations for the next change (upgrade, process change, etc.) is a pivot point. Because of that decision many things have to be different. If you cave and go with only one or two customizations you lose your pivot point.

In this case the pivot point not only allows the end state to move closer to possibility it also sets in motion review of business process which typically reveals dollar savings and overlap throughout the organization.

Without the pivot point of “out of the box” or aligned with initial change description the path becomes littered with individual road blocks (for those change forcers who seem to miss [or ignore] root causes this is called “resistance”).


Sometimes something needs to be inserted, added or put in as a replacement.

Email has created noise. People have a habit of deleting emails without really absorbing the content. A fantastic pivot point is the addition of screen saver notifications to stakeholders. If the process is tightly controlled and the landing spot for extra information is inviting this is a huge pivot point for both organizational communication and change initiatives (and both together).

Do a big giant communication project with email as the delivery tool and you will likely have miscommunication, confusion and a difficult path toward change.

This pivot point has the added possible effect of creating a reusable, sustainable communication flow (and even loop) that saves time, money and effort.


There are many change initiatives that just will not work without a partnership.

The collaboration and genuine participation (two owners effectively- and maybe literally if they share the budget pot) of two senior executives is a pivot point for many changes. Without the true involvement of that second leader the change moves in spurts and stops.


To get things to move for change it helps to have a catalyst.

When someone within the change comes up with an idea that is truly innovative and practically makes sense on the business side a pivot point exists. Take that idea, illustrate who came up with it and then bring in others at different levels to work on the implementation of that idea and you have change that is evolutionary.

Ignore one or two great ideas, especially if they are obvious pivot points, and you will find some stakeholders not at all enthused about your change.


This pivot point was the most interesting I have seen.

An organization wanted more collaboration. They wanted executives working together and they wanted that modeled for the rest of the organization. And they were all on board at the highest levels.

They realized they needed to understand each other to both make their change work and to get good at the same empathy for their stakeholders.

So they switched roles.

In pairs they exchanged some responsibilities connected to both the change and operational process. They LITERALLY had to stand in someone else’s shoes. (This is the plot of about a gazillion movies, but this was real).

Needles to say, since they stuck with this leadership pivot point, the change was very successful. It was the closest I have seen a change initiative get to the end state (because of course that morphs as you go along).


It is important to look and see if you have a pivot point in your change. Every change seems to have that one thing that if not done, added or eliminated will really not be successful. It could be customization, technology, collaboration, leadership, innovation or something cultural. Knowing it is a pivot point and using that leverage can be crucial for getting to the end state.

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