Reverse psychology is a technique that is sometimes used to overcome bad habits. Ineffective change management is a very common cause of projects not delivering expected benefits, so I thought we could conduct a little thought experiment.
For those of you who are familiar with the Star Trek (original series, of course!) episode “Mirror, Mirror“, imagine that you are now living in that alternate universe which was the mirror opposite of ours. What might good change management practices look like there?
Don’t engage those affected by the change – you know what’s good for them! They pay you the big bucks so why would you want their input into change design? You’ll never get anything done if you have to take everyone’s input into consideration.
Don’t define and communicate the desired end state upfront – it will just confuse everyone! People like to be surprised, right? If you give them a head’s up about what to expect that will just dilute the shock & awe factor when the changes hit!
Go for Big Bang – if it’s good enough for the universe it should be good enough for your change initiative! Why waste the effort in planning for multiple separate change releases – bite the bullet!
Don’t solicit feedback after your initial rollout – you already know people are going to complain! No one likes change and you’ve obviously put a lot of thought into the design of the changes so just tell them to grin and bear it!
Don’t bother cultivating change advocates – they’ll just steal your thunder! Leadership success is best proven by delivering change as a lone wolf – anything else demonstrates weakness and a lack of self-confidence. If people don’t like your changes, they can always look for a new job!
Continuously roll out changes one after another without allowing sufficient time for the changes to stick. Isn’t that what continuous improvement means? Our staff are supposed to be change resilient, right? How would we expect them to develop that change resilience if they don’t get practice?
Presented this way, it seems perverse that anyone would choose to use any of these practices when managing change, but think back to your last change initiative – did YOU take a wrong turn in Albuquerque and wind up in an alternate universe?