No wonder change management projects are so difficult

“Any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has already known it. The loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety. And at such a moment, unable to see and not daring to imagine what the future will bring forth, one clings to what one possessed or dreamed one possessed. Yet it is only when persons are able, without bitterness or self pity, to surrender a dream they have long cherished or a privilege they have long possessed that they are set free – for higher dreams, for greater privileges. All people have gone through this; go through it, according to their degrees, throughout their lives. It is one of the irreducible facts of life.”

James Baldwin

I came across this quote many years ago and have not used it for quite a while. Many people who come along to our project management courses say they are working on change management projects this is often accompanied by the comment that change projects are really hard to deliver effectively.

I thought I would take a more detailed look at some of the components of the quote and look at the implications for project managers – in italics.

……implies the breakup of the world as one …knows it – people want to hold onto what they already have or know. Introducing a new project management methodology may well mean a completely different way of working for people. Do they need support in changing their old working practices or leave them to it?

the loss – people will feel loss, a genuine loss. This can litterally be familiarity with something. Sometimes, like above, they may need support in getting over that loss

not daring to imagine what the future will bring forth – they cannot see what the future will look like. Does the project manager and the project team need to spend time communicating and painting the vision with/for them?

one clings to what one possessed or dreamed one possessed – people won’t want to move away from their old working practices. What do you, the project manager (or tem member) intend to do about it?

…to surrender a dream they have long cherished – to move the project on, people have to give something up, something they are close to, they like or are familiar with

…that they are set free – give up their previous ways of working and find new and different ways to work

All people have gone through this - in some way shape or form, we have all gone through it, it’s how we manage it personally as well as collectively that the success of the project could well be judged on

Project management – change management – they are intertwined. Reading the quote and the breakdown means we need to work really hard to increase the probability of project success. Otherwise, you know the results…..

 

Photo by  Salvatore Vuono whose portfolio is:
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=659

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One Response to No wonder change management projects are so difficult

  1. Pingback: No wonder change management projects are so difficult « PMChat

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