Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Change Management rolls downhill

adapted from Sam Gross

Cawsey, Desza, & Ingols (2012) described 5 important roles for organizational change success:  (1) initiators, (2) leaders, (3) implementers, (4) facilitators, and (5) recipients.  The rest of this post will explain how the structure of these roles contributes to change management failure.  The content is excerpted from the special report The Change Management Secret:  New research reveals the key ingredients to change management success (2012).

Change Recipients

These five roles also represent a continuum of change senders to change receivers, with change agents the original senders, and change recipients the ultimate receivers of the change.  Leaders demand compliance and do not want resistance.  Employees know this, and in order to maintain job security, they do not openly resist change.  

If they know the change has a major defect, they keep quiet. Just because employees are not openly resistant to a change does not mean they are committed to that change.  Individuals need to look out for their own personal interests first.  Many perceive speaking out as a risk that may jeopardize their jobs, so they do their best to not rock the boat.

Who would you NOT want to be in this picture?

Change recipients are the lynchpin that holds the change management implementation framework together.  Individuals play the pivotal role and have the most pressure and eyes on them.  Rather than have me spell out what the change senders are doing with some new steps from the latest Kotter book, we’re going to start at the receiver end … 
  • What is it like to be in the individual change recipients’ shoes?  
  • What are they thinking and doing?  

For starters, the individual first thinks, “is this change good or bad for me personally?”  If nobody takes the time to discuss this with them, the rumor mill ultimately wins with most believing that the change is bad for them personally.
If they do not believe the change is good for them personally, they will never commit to that change.

If you would like to see more from this special report, go to


Cawsey, T. F., Desza, G., & Ingols, C. (2012).  Organizational change: An action-oriented toolkit.  Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage Publications.

Gross, Sam. (2012).  Maybe we should stop making them on a hill [transformed cartoon].  New Yorker online.


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