By, Mark McCatty

There are two types of change that organizations deal with. The two types of change are planned change and emergent change. Planned change is top-down and mainly driven by management. While emergent change is bottom-up and comes mostly from employee levels.

Planned change is compelled by a business need that the management structure observes. The desire of management is that those responsible for implementing the change will understand, accept, and be fully devoted to carry-out the change initiative.

Emergent change is driven from lower in the organization. Emergent change, at this level, is driven by those lower in the organization while the change needs to be supported by those higher in the organization. Support from those at the top is needed because it’s those individuals that have the authority and capability to support the emergent change effort – or quickly kill it.

It is interesting to me that with both planed change and emergent change, both groups of people have the same desire. They each desire that the other groups – those with the power to implement or kill – will challenge, question, improve, and implement the best change possible. This exposes the maxims of change that all organizations face.

There are 5 maxims of change:

  1. People do not resist change; they resist being changed!
  2. All major change events will leave some people unhappy
  3. All change events have three characteristics
  4. Change resistance is inverse to the volume and quality of communication
  5. Stakeholders always have questions and concerns about a major change initiative

Let’s deal with the first 2 maxims. The first maxim [people do not resist change; they resist being changed] helps us understand the second axiom [in every change people will always be unhappy with something]. The key for change acceptance then is to recognize that successful change must not be focused on changing people, but rather on helping people to be part of the change.

Whether the change is planned or emergent, organizational leaders can use these change activities to engage all those stakeholders that will make or break the change effort. The net result can be much less frustration with the lack of participation and a much greater change implementation. Leaders lead change.

Mark McCatty, Leadership & Team Advisor

Improving Leadership ROI