Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The First Law of Change Management

Newton's First Law of Motion states that a body at rest will remain at rest and a body in motion will continue to move with the same speed in a straight line, unless acted upon by an external force.

This, in a nutshell, is what change management is all about.

External force - in other words, effort - is needed to get organizations moving in a certain direction, and if they are already moving in a certain direction, effort is still needed to change their direction, speed, or both - or to stop them doing something.

And while getting organizations started on something is hard, getting them to stop doing something can be equally hard, if not harder.

There are always pet projects, traditions, culture, and precedent to contend with. "We've always done it" can be as powerful as "we've always done it this way". But just because something has always been done does not make it desirable. In changing times, in fact, it is always the longest held practices that need to be stopped - simply because they are the likeliest to be out-of-sync with reality. Stopping them will release the resources needed to fight the real battles.

Change is hard enough as it is. It requires all the energy you can muster. And when you are nearly out of energy, it's time to look around and see what you need to stop doing.

No comments:

Post a Comment