Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Bob Lutz on managing change

I've been fascinated by Bob Lutz, Vice Chairman of GM's new FastLane blog. Like many bloggers I have been impressed by this demonstration of building community with GM's stakeholders.

His views of managing corporate change (a transcribe of a recent presentation) are well worth a read.

One of my favourite bits:
One of the more disturbing features of our current preoccupation with change is the presumption that all change is good. Look at the language that the human resources people put on employee review forms today: 'Does the employee embrace change?'

I conjure the image of fast trackers desperately looking in every nook and cranny of the company for some undiscovered and unembraced dollop of change that they can put their arms around and squeeze.

That's silly, of course. Change has no inherent normative value at all. Some change is good. Some is bad. People ought to be evaluated based on whether they can tell the difference, not on whether they obediently and mindlessly embrace unexamined change.

This week the job of a 'change agent' is top of my priorities, given that I am presenting on the subject to a senior group next week. What are the issues? How will the change agent's role change over time? How do you measure their contribution?

In times like this there is nothing better than a bit of experience.