change management assumptionsBy Margot Cairnes. Many of the beliefs and strategies surrounding change management are based on assumptions which simply do not reflect the real world. One such assumption is that the world is orderly, stable and predictable and that things transition orderly from one state of being to another. In reality – the world is complex, unpredictable and messy.

Things are in a constant state of flux.

The assumption that change can be planned and managed is fundamentally flawed. Not only are we unlikely to see change coming, we are unlikely to be able to adapt fast enough even when we are alerted. This means we need to be in a constant state of change readiness: listening, sensing, reacting, and creating in ways never before required of us.

Elevated level of thinking

We need to elevate our capability in sensing that which we cannot see (and do not know) before it broadsides us. We must be receptive to radical innovation, both from outside our organisations and from within.
Many change initiatives assume that leaders and change managers are objective. It’s impossible for someone to be truly objective.

In reality people bring their biases, preferences and personal perspective to everything they do, including the change process. These biases and preference can further cloud our perception of what’s really happening. They can blind us to the opportunities as well as the pitfalls lurking around the corner.

These biases and preferences can impact the change readiness and ability of leaders and the people they lead to adapt. A traditional change management plan lead from the top will be limited by what the people at the top can imagine. Their view point is restricted by their biases and preferences.

Understanding all perspectives

To make constant change an integral part of your organisation requires everyone to be aware of and respect each other’s perspective.

Rather than a rigid program managed and controlled from the top, Gary Hamel, professor from the London Business schools suggests a platform that allows every stakeholder in the organisation to  contribute and suggest strategic alternatives. The ability to identify threats, opportunities and initiate product change initiatives is not restricted to the preferences and biases of those at the top.

Real change needs to be linked to reality:

  • How the human brain actually works
  • What is really happening in the world around us
  • The reality of the strategic imperatives for the business.

To learn more about current challenges in change management and how to overcome them please download the 12SFB whitepaper, Why most current change management practices will harm your business.

The 12SFB programme helps organisations overcome their negative collective emotions to build an environment based on pride, joy, collaboration and commitment. It will help you develop your emotional aperture so you can better perceive group emotions. To learn more about this programme please visit