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The Evolution of Change Management


Much has been written recently about the need to evolve the practice of organizational change management towards change readiness. Why? Given global, economic, societal and technical trends – among others, organizations are always in a state of change to remain competitive and grow. It is no longer good enough to help an organization successfully embrace the latest change, it is now more important to create a culture of change readiness and employee agility. Two recent articles on this subject that I recommend reading are:

In the July HBR Blog Communicating Change as Business as Usual, Chris Musselwhite and Tammie Plouffe describe change readiness as “dynamic and proactive - positioning change simply as business as usual.”  Through this approach you enable an organization to initiate and respond to change on an ongoing basis – making it a business initiative rather than a change initiative. Both what and how you communicate is a key component as part of this evolution.

Last week, Kayleigh O’Keefe posted an article on the CEC Insider describing Where Kotter’s 8 Steps Gets it Wrong to build an agile and adaptable organization.  She referred to three main areas where this change management process fails: change is not a one-time event, it doesn’t only come from CXOs, and employees should not be the objects of change. Instead, she promotes enabling employees to be the drivers of change to create a culture of evolution and continually adapting. She even recommends dropping the word “change”.

I personally still believe a change program should be in place as part of any major initiative where the nature of work is changing. However, I also strongly support the views of the authors above and believe change readiness is an essential cultural element for any organization to remain successful in this complex economy.

Whether it is change management or change readiness, open and effective communications in both the message and the medium provide a competitive advantage to enable organizations to successfully evolve. Based on my experience as a collaboration practitioner, our internal use of Cisco collaboration solutions has prepared us well.

Would love to read your thoughts?   ...f


I am looking forward to reading the articles suggested as they seem very interesting. A quote comes back to mind "the only constant is change. So embrace it." I've personally worked in smb most of my career and i must say that they adapt to change rapidly but they are never ready for it. The ones that are ready are those that remain leaders in their industry niche. On the other hand, i've seen larger organization put in place all of the necessary tools to adapt to change but they were never swift enough to embrace it. In all events communication is key. With the adoption of video comes an era where messages can be distributed much faster than before. Thanks for sharing this post!


Thanks for the comment! I totally agree effective communications is key to successful change and no matter what industry you are in today, embracing change is the only way to operate. I'll be researching more about approaches to change readiness.  ...f


The topic of change. It was a nice blog entry, however, change is always going to happen. That being said, I do like that it does come from the employees rather than the higher ups in an organization. Some of the greatest ideas are started on the ground floor. It becomes imperative then to remove impediments that stop great ideas from reaching the top of management.


Thanks for the comment Elliott! I agree change is constant, which is why the ideas behind change readiness seem more practical. I also agree with the need for ideas to be widely caputured and visible, both within and external to an organization.  There are many great examples from the use of open innovation. Within Cisco, we've had processes in place for many years to capture and evaluate engineering ideas, both internally and externally.  We also have related programs that focus on ideas related to quality and organizational learning. ...definitely lots of content on that topic. 


Found this summary of CM models and thought I would add it here for those interested.  ...f


No problem, I always enjoy when someone posts a good blog entry. I have enjoyed reading some of the discussions taking place in the "Collaboration" section of Cisco's website and look forward to reading the other good ideas being posted here. A good source of ideas out there on the web are the blogs of Peace Corps volunteers who are wonderful leaders who know how to adapt to a changing environment - they often post about their projects which sometimes can deal with technology. I know mine did. Feel free to drop me an email as I am aware of some great projects that if Cisco's name was associated with it, would really penetrate certain markets around the globe and make it even stronger than it already is.

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Hi there,

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Rising star


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