D. Kevin Berchelmann
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Monday, August 22, 2011

Leadership: Change is Inevitable, but "different" isn't always "better"


Change is good.

Change is the only constant.

I like change... I'm a change agent.

Yeah, right. I'm calling bullshit. Enough already with this change-kumbaya stuff. Sometimes, change is essential for growth, for progress, hell even for organizational survival. Sometimes.

I get that.

But sometimes, we change for changes' sake, and that's just got to stop. Take automation, for example... At some point in our storied, sordid organizational evolution, we determined that anything we do can be made "better" if we simply automate it. Sort of like adding bacon makes all food better.

Except it's true about the bacon...

Too frequently, though, we have processes in our organizations that just don't work well. They aren't all that effective, aren't necessarily efficient, and truthfully, should be drastically modified or deep-sixed altogether.

In other words, many of our existing processes are crap. And if we take crap to begin with, then automate it, you know what we get?

Automatic crap.

And we want this? Really? Instead of using a bad manual process and taking several hours, or even days, to screw something up, we put the technology in place to now screw it up at the mere push of a couple of buttons.

Automatic crap. That's change we can do without.

But that's just me...

KB

Kevin Berchelmann
www.triangleperformance.com

2 comments:

Dane McKitrick said...

Alright, I understand your point. But, I believe you made a fallacious leap of logic from the Change premise to the automation conclusion.
Progress never happens without change. That is self defining.
Change isn't always better. True enough, but you can't get better without change.
So the question becomes, "Are we making intelligent changes". Automating a bad process means that the change agent didn't do his job. The first thing the person making the change should be doing is evaluating the process and determining what the change should be. By not fixing the underlying problem, the end result was change for no benefit.
This really falls more under "Management" than "Leadership". A manager is responsible for good processes. A Leader is responsible for god managers.
At least that's my view.

Kevin Berchelmann said...

Dane, thanks for the comments.

I believe them to be substantially inaccurate, but I do appreciate your thoughts.

First, I made no argument vis-a-vis any conclusion, merely provided an example of unnecessary change (automation). No fallacious leap at all. The sole purpose (and implication) of the post was to say that all change isn't necessarily good, or needed.

Next, though progress MAY need change, few would disagree that not all change creates progress. I believe the very thinking that focuses on change=progress is what creates unnecessary change (my automatic crap analogy).

Change "agents," vs. simply participants, would be better served determining the delta between current and desired states than on the change process.

Finally, I fundamentally disagree with your management/leadership comment. In my experience, identifying WHAT should change is clearly indicative of leadership; HOW to implement that change is much more of a management role.

But that's just me...

Thanks again for your thoughtful comments.

KB