Why we need Change Managers?

All management is change management

This article has got me thinking https://hbr.org/2017/10/all-management-is-change-management

In essence, it is making the point that all management is about making change happen, because all managers are responsible for improvements to how their departments and teams are operating. Fair point, so why do we need people to specifically concentrate on managing change?

Operational Management under pressure

I wonder if we are starting to see a divide in organisations – where operational managers are so under pressure from managing the day to day that freeing themselves up to lead changes to how things are currently done feels impossible. Most operational managers I know are under pressure to perform against demanding KPIs whilst responding to enquiries from customers, bosses, suppliers, colleagues etc that all expect an instant answer. The increasing use of messaging apps, social media and collaboration platforms means that many managers are involved in immediate responses to situations. This makes all jobs high pressure, not just the ones that are dedicated to customer facing activities.

Strategy is for Change Managers

Meanwhile, there is another group of managers, who are employed to think more strategically, to scope, plan and implement changes, improvements and transformations. I had lunch with a group of these managers last week, who had all come from operational business roles. It was interesting to hear them say how much they were enjoying their change management roles, and how they had no plans to return to the ‘front line’. As one of them said, “I love having time to think” and she is very unwilling to give that up.

Perhaps the answer is to achieve a greater balance between the ‘always on’ element of operational management, with some of the strategic thinking time of the Change Manager?