Top 5 Change Management Traps (and how to avoid them)

Top 5 Change Management Traps (and how to avoid them)

1. Not talking to those affected (AKA Ivory tower design)

Solves only management problems, makes more work no gain for most people

Change - Finding the ideas at the intersection of multiple groups' pain points makes it way easier to get traction. Talk to those affected to find the pain points and sense-check solutions.

2. Massive changes (AKA Boil the ocean approaches)

You won't see benefit until it's all done, and the project might not survive until then. When Leadership tenure is ±2-3years, longer Projects stumble.

Workaround - Remember that significant effects often come from small changes. Find ones with high leverage. Big "bang for your buck."

3. Many concurrent changes (AKA, We don't know what's important)

Improvement work competes for capacity with all other work.

Fix - You'll often be better off removing things than adding things at the start. This will give people some breathing room.

4. Ignoring incentives (AKA, Everyone's a perfect altruist)

If your goals or promotion are affected, it's much harder for you to adjust or support my goals.

5. Not thinking it, through (AKA, The silver bullet)

Idealistic thinking helps with creative brainstorming, and pessimism helps avoid screw-ups. We need both and more.

Approach - Explore from different perspectives. Use a pre-Mortem, or the 6 thinking hats, for example.

(Image Midjourney: "Common Traps")

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