Change Happens at the Individual Level + 4 Other Essential Truths of Change Management

I recently visited the corporate offices of a large company that I hadn’t worked with in 20 years. As I walked around the building, I noticed how much things had changed after two restructurings. The workforce was younger (and no, it’s not just that I’m getting older!) and more diverse. Formal dress had been replaced by casual attire. People talked about corporate-sponsored events that sounded more like something one would actually want to attend.

But I also noticed how many things were the same. The way people spoke to me and interacted with me hadn’t changed — it seemed preserved in amber like Spielberg’s dinosaurs. They still spoke of their jobs and the company with reverence.

They really did “change” right, I thought.

Having ushered more than one company through change management, I’ve seen it create new and better companies, but I’ve also seen it leave some as only a husk of their former greatness. So how do we do “change” right? I believe we start with five principles — what I call the “5 Essential Truths of Change.”

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