People, Change and Leadership

by  Mike Henry  |  Change Management

Another fall is beginning.  Soon, the leaves will change.  Change is in the air.

But isn’t change always happening?  Little remains the same for any serious period of time.  Change is a fact of life.  Increasing change may be as well.

Sonia Di Maulo of Ready To Feedback (@ReadyToFeedback) provides a daily email called the Daily Compelling Workplace Statistic.  (More info here.)  She provides some interesting information in those emails and I’ve kept many for future reference.  But today’s message prompted me to write this post.

One-third of U.S. companies anticipate installing a head of change-management, with authority and standing similar to that of a chief financial officer, by 2015. The position did not even exist a few years ago, and today only 11% of executives say their companies have such a position.

Source: Human Resources: The Big Issues, Bloomberg Businessweek, July 2008

A couple of things jumped out at me that I wanted to comment on and then ask for your thoughts as well.

New Specialty

The world is asking for a new specialty.  This statistic denotes direction.  The number might sound extreme or low, but organizations plan to devote resources to this skill.  Change matters.  Artful, skillful change that builds up rather than creating collateral damage is a growing and valued skill.

Valued Skill

The idea that the position would be equivalent to a C-Level position surprises me.  It shows that organizations understand the impact of both skillful, positive change  and the cost of careless, difficult change.  Because of market volatility and the importance of “getting things right” in Internet time, organizations will invest more in reducing the risk and maximizing the benefit of change done well.

Speed of Change

One more caveat, the statistics were compiled before our current depression.  Companies will continue on this path, but not at this rate.  Don’t be fooled by the next stat that says this has slowed (my expectations only).  Everything slowed over the last 24 months.  Change Management is a growing valued skill.  You will improve or you will lose.  It’s up to you.

Take Action

So, how can we take action now to get better at leading change and insuring our change is positive?  As the Lead Change Group, we must be addressing these questions.  What do you say?

We will include a summary of the comments below as well as any on the LinkedIn group page in a follow up post or series on Change Management.

Photo by joiseyshowaa

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About The Author

Articles By mike-henry
Chief Instigator (Founder) of Lead Change Group and VP of IT for a mid sized technology company. Passionate about character-based leadership and making a positive difference.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Marty Caise  |  27 Sep 2010  |  Reply

Excerpt from my full response (

Mike is absolutely right. “The world IS asking for a new specialty”, but are the heads of companies really ready for it. The direction is a strong one for those who accept it. Those who struggle with change both internally and from an organizational stand point can benefit from a position like this one. To have a different perspective is always a good thing even when the organization is performing well. The old adage that you don’t fix what is not broken is truly a thing of the past.

Mike poses a great question… As always it begins and ends with effective communication. To establish the positive, start by asking yourself and your team, “what is working well?” There will be those that may look at statistics to identify that answer, but stats only give one side of the argument. What do your customers think?

Once you have this information you can identify items that need attention and are good candidates for change. Leading this endeavor now falls onto your team. Their “buy-in” to any change is essential to its success. This is not always received well, but if the team has input on how the change will be conducted, it has a much better chance.

Mike Henry  |  27 Sep 2010  |  Reply

Thanks for the great response Marty. I agree that communication – which includes getting the necessary feedback to make sure you were understood – is a key factor in successful change. Without proper understanding we risk irritating the very people we intend to serve.


Joe Rafter  |  27 Sep 2010  |  Reply

Mike – Interesting reference from Bloomberg Businessweek. Thanks for this. Whats more interesting is the date of 2008. That period feels like a lifetime ago! My observations suggest that companies are not tracking towards the 33% install base of CCOs or Chief Change Officers. I agree that the role will benefit companies when implemented well. IMHO, the challenge is that this role will mimic the CEO role and therefore be expensive and difficult to make successful in the board room.

Mike Henry  |  27 Sep 2010  |  Reply

I agree on your thoughts about the role being expensive and difficult to make expensive. I’d be curious to see what this study looked like today. But I’m not sure it’s gone, just that it’s been slowed in implementation. I wonder too what area it goes in (HR, Operations, etc.) if it doesn’t stand on its own.

Thanks for the great comment, Joe.

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