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Unmanaged change is just disruption

Blair McPherson - former Director, Author and Blogger
turned off flat screen monitors on top of beige desks

Fire starter

The new director general of the BBC doesn’t just want to change things he wants to accelerate change. We can expect this to be the theme picked up across the public and private sector as chief executives everywhere are expected not only to make changes but to make them faster.

If you have ever been involved in one of those major restructuring that take so long to complete that the reasons behind the restructuring no longer apply and the architects who instigated the changes have long since moved on, then speeding up change will seem a good idea. But rushing or accelerating change has its risks.
Change has to be managed other wise it will result in pointless disruption, demoralised employees, a deterioration in performance and a lot of questions about whether it was worth the aggravation. The merger may make sense on paper but with out detailed consultation the practical problems may not be identified and the anticipated economies may not be realised. Transforming a service or organisation is going to be a lot smother if those affected have been engaged in the process. Employees may not like or agree with the changes in working practices but they and partner agencies need to understand the thinking behind the changes after all they are the ones who have to make it work.
The risk is that an impatient chief executive who sees themselves as forcing the pace of change  may mistake the identification of practical considerations and unintended consequences as resistance rather than legitimate concerns. Rather than damping down anxieties and coming up with solutions to the practical issues their “  There is no point in consulting this is happening whether they like it or not” management style is the equivalent to pouring petrol on the fire.
Describing the role of chief executive as an accelerant is a powerful image conveying the idea of speeding up change. But a chief executive who sees themselves as a fire starter better be aware of the potential destructive power of fire.

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