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The seven myths of change management

Michael Jarrett argues that while change may be constant the way we react to it should not be.

By Michael Jarrett . 01 December 2003

Michael Jarrett argues that while change may be constant the way we react to it should not be.


48RowanOttesenConnect482x271Managing change is difficult and the sad truth is that most “transformational” change initiatives fail. The reasons for this poor performance are that organisational “resistance” is grossly underestimated, “change agents” believe that change can be managed and these assumptions lead to faulty interventions. But if the dynamics of change cannot be predicted with certainty or controlled, then the advocates of change must manage themselves in order to ride the crest of changes’ fortunes – for that is the only thing that can be managed.

Lou Gerstner, Sandy Weill and Jack Welch were both loved and envied by the corporate world. These were the smart companies and people that were much quoted in the business press and management literature. IBM was haemorrhaging $4.97bn in 1992 before Gerstner turned it around. Citicorp’s Weill and his executive team successfully managed a complex integration of companies to become the global leader in financial services and the most profitable bank in history. GE’s “Work Out” methodology became the mantra for change. These successes suggested that the alchemy of change was within easy reach.

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