Good change projects are not reflected in the result

How do you recognize good change projects? You certainly don't want to wait until the results are in and then reverse the change if necessary! So ideally you have to be able to classify and evaluate a change project as good or less suitable in advance. Change is essential for economic success, which is why managers are constantly busy initiating change. There are even so-called change agents who do nothing else professionally. Edgar Rodehack reports in the Teamworkblog about his own experiences and reflections on the topic. We summarize the article for you below.
A post-it notepad reads "What's next?"

Recipes for change?

Edgar Rodehack refers to an article in "Neue Narrative" that deals with the topic of mindset in an organization in the context of change. Rodehack found the article in question good and inspiring, but could not come to terms with the idea that an organization is like a machine where various buttons can be pushed that will then enable change in a certain direction. Of course, this is not so and even the authors of the best articles on change management can only touch on such a complex topic in a magazine article. Much has to be simplified and a process that takes a year is described in a short paragraph. One gets the impression that change can be implemented in a simple way, at the push of a button and according to a patent recipe. That is certainly not the case. Not for nothing do countless experts deal with the topic of change.
Rodehack emphasizes that, in his eyes, this mechanical view obscures the view of the whole, of what is essential. He pleads for less concern with recipes and methods and more focus on what is really important and what can really be influenced. What counts is what comes out in the end. In other words, the result. But is that really the case? In the case of a bakery, you could certainly put it that way. If the bread that comes out in the end doesn't taste good, the best process is simply not good enough. Edgar Rodehack raises the question of whether, in change management, the journey might not be the destination. Is it about the result or is it about how things are done? It's probably a mixture of both. It's hard to imagine change agents, change coaches, organizational consultants, and team developers actually measuring their success by how much they've been able to change the mindset of an entire organization. You want to change the mindset of 7,000 people, you ended up reaching 3,500 people. Was your project only 50% successful? Probably not. The difficult thing is that we as humans always tend to focus primarily on the result and evaluate things only according to that. So it takes a certain mindset to work purposefully and consciously on something completely different than the result in this performance-oriented world. We have learned that performance can only be seen in a good result. Change agents have to say goodbye to that.

The journey is the destination, isn't it?

If you always focus on the result, you miss a lot. This is especially true if the result only becomes apparent after many years or perhaps never fully materializes. It is always a long road to implement a change. Sure, they can purchase a new computer program, show it to everyone, and then have everyone work with it. Something has changed. But a mindset just can't be bought. Nothing is as difficult to change as people's habits. And that includes this orientation to success, to the bottom line. Decades often pass before even the last head in the company really understands that change is necessary. Are you more the type to be deterred or motivated by big tasks? Change management is always a big task. Here Edgar Rodehack gives an important tip: Try to see the goal as secondary for the time being. It is a good point of orientation, but should definitely not be the focus of all efforts. Sounds absurd? Yes. It takes some practice and a little acrobatics in one's attitude to tackle a mammoth task in our performance-oriented working world without focusing (initially) on its outcome.

How good is my change strategy?

So focus on your own attitude, on your own behavior, right now. As for everyone else involved, too, always keep your eyes on the present moment and don't stray too far into the future. It's exhausting to constantly analyze your own thoughts and actions to see if they match what you want the change to be across the organization. Eventually. So the journey is the destination. As a first step, become more like what is intended as change every day. Only then will the result actually occur at some point and it can then be measured and evaluated. However, only in some time. So if you want to evaluate today if your change project is good and purposeful, then you have to look at the behavior of the clients and the change agents. Are they currently behaving exactly as you envision the outcome, or are they at least on a good path? Do the decision makers and change managers have their eyes on the moment and are they focused on the journey rather than the destination? If so, your plan has a pretty good chance of success.
Author: IAPM internal 

Keywords: Project management, Change management, Mindset, Self organization

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