Pokémon Go is just another one of those trends that has taken the world by storm, and leaves you scratching your head thinking: “We get it. You like Pokémon. Can you drop it already?”
Likewise, there are some trends in Change Management that leave me feeling the same way. “The change is going to be agile, you’ve mentioned it over two-hundred times.”
There are a few ideas and terms that I feel that, we as Change managers, are overusing and misusing. The time has come to explain to Pikachus and professionals alike that we need to stop talking about those same old ideas and breathe a bit of fresh air and clarity into the business world. So here are some of the ideas we need to start with in our journey to being Change management masters:
After posting the question to a few of the LinkedIn groups of which I am a member, I received various responses as to which terms and ideas need to be reevaluated. The first of such terms is “Stakeholder”.
As Starla Borges commented:
“I struggle with “stakeholder”. I know, I know… It’s commonplace and industry accepted and all that jazz. Personal opinion is that use of that term can dehumanize the groups a change impacts.”
I could not agree more. I feel that one of the biggest challenges facing Change Managers is the ability to differentiate between the project and the people making the project happen.
This nuance is more complicated than it appears at first glance. It is what I believe to be one of the central causes for failure to implement change. We make the mistake of overusing terms like “stakeholder” and “agile” when dealing with the people making the project happen, and as Jason Taylor mentions below, it creates misunderstandings as to the nature of what is being implemented:
“I would say that ‘agile’ is often overused, misunderstood, and muddies the waters. For example, people sometimes interchanging agile in the development sense to its dictionary meaning and adding it to any change. It muddies the water in the sense that people tend to focus on the IT and development side and not the people and true change.”
Our aim is always to make communication as effective and clear as possible. Which is why, when dealing with human beings, the overuse of terms such as: ‘synergise’, ‘agile’, ‘streamlined’ and ‘stakeholder’ only serve to confuse our intentions.
On the other hand, when dealing with the more technical aspects of change, the overuse of terms such as “Do more with less”, “Don’t throw him/her under the bus”, “let’s not boil the ocean” and “Think outside the box” should also be avoided. They can be very ambiguous when dealing with organisational change and have as much place in a project plan for change as a Charizard in water.
Finally, I would like to share this simple infographic with you, which I feel explains the difference between the project and the people:
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