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This chapter is from the book

Putting the Change Manager Out of Work

This makes the expert’s job tough. More important, it suggests something hinted at earlier: Change expertise is too important to be left to specialists.

On major projects, change people are called in to sprinkle change pixie dust and make people problems go away. Their efforts are directed at persuading, involving, and communicating in order to align people with the change. However, this is a bizarre circumstance, for is it not the manager’s job to persuade, involve, and communicate? Are not change managers, and their tools, a Band-Aid to cover up managerial insufficiency? (In the same way, consultants are sometimes called in to do jobs that more capable teams might well accomplish on their own.) This specialist discipline, practiced by experts (often internal or external consultants), is used to provide tools, models, and expertise that (mostly) ought to be part of every manager’s day job.

Imagine an organization filled with leaders at every level who excelled at aligning staff with change strategy. Key change programs become priorities for them; they work hard at understanding the big picture, handle conflict assertively yet gracefully, motivate and align staff, communicate with affected stakeholders (for example, customers), skillfully facilitate cross-functional or cross-cultural teams, facilitate strategy development and planning, and challenge recalcitrant behavior. Would we, if such superstar skills existed throughout the business, need change management?11 Winning hearts and minds and changing behaviors is the job of leadership; therefore, to some extent, change management is used to shore up shortfalls in leadership and to bring skills that are far distant from business education.

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