The views expressed in this article are strictly those of Max Wideman.
The contents of the book under review are the copyright property of the author.
Published here September 2020

Introduction | Book Structure | What We Liked - In General
What We Liked - In Particular | Downside | Summary

What We Liked - In Particular

As I worked my way through the book, one particular example struck home. As noted earlier, Chapter 5 tackles the problem (Gap) of Understanding Business Change Management. In this, he provides essential conceptual background and advice for achieving change in the higher ranks of an organization. However, before going further, let us be clear on significantly different types of change relating to projects. For instance, there is Change Management, Management of Change, and now Business Change Management.

  • Change Management may be defined as "The formal process through which changes to the project plan are approved and introduced".[13]
  • Management of Change may be defined as "A structured approach for transitioning individuals, groups, and organizations from a current state to a future state with intended business benefits".[14]
  • Business Change Management, as described in this book by Todd Williams, takes Management of Change beyond the strict domain of asset delivery by extending the concept up through to the top ranks of the sponsoring organization.

Todd opens this chapter with a quote from Peter Senge:[15]

"People don't resist change. They resist being changed."

In other words, "I'm all for organizational change so long as it doesn't affect me!" Or as one wag put it, the closer you get to the top, the closer you get to the door, see Figure 2 as an example.

Figure 2
Figure 2

In developing his analysis, Todd notes that there are three precursors that have developed current change management thought:[16]

  • Cognitive behavior: Studies show we need to change expectations and beliefs before changing behavior.
  • Grief process: All people go through the stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance when faced with change.
  • Social change theory: 16% adoption is necessary before a change will take hold in a group.

He adds that it is difficult to deal with individuals in a business because many times too many people are involved. It would all take far too long and in any case concurrency is often essential. You have to work at a macro societal level and address departments, divisions, and corporate cultures. Instead of swaying fifty people, you need to focus on the right 8 to 10 people. Instead of influencing a thousand, you recruit 10 direct reports to sway 16 or 20 each.[17]

Todd points to John Kotter's Change Management Approach described in his book The Heart of Change where he, Kotter, posits:[18]

"People change what they do, not because they are given analysis that shifts their thinking, but because they are shown a truth that influences their feelings."

To this end, Kotter prescribes 8 steps in a change process directed at executives:

  1. Increase urgency: Address people's beliefs and expectation
  2. Build the guiding team
  3. Get the vision right
  4. Communicate for buy-in
  5. Empower action
  6. Create short term wins
  7. Don't let up
  8. Make change stick.

Each of these steps is described in some detail in Todd's book.[19] Todd then concludes this chapter by observing:[20]

"Project change processes are well understood, as are their effects on project scope; they do little to address an individual's behavior. Organizational change management directly addresses the willingness or ability of someone to change expectations, beliefs, and behavior. It is less about adherence to a specification and more about how someone feels."

What We Liked - In General  What We Liked - In General

13. Wideman Comparative Management Glossary ***entry D04398.
14. Wideman Comparative Management Glossary ***entry D06855.
15. Filling Execution Gaps, p121
16. Paraphrased from blocked text on p128
17. Ibid
18. Adapted from p128
19. Ibid, p129
20. Ibid, p132
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