Why is change management the first thing to go to ease constraints?

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    I see more and more that leadership understands the importance of change management, cultural fit and people. But… when resources are low, or money is short or time is running out it seems that change management is the first place they look to cut.


    You are very correct. Often it is a knee-jerk reaction, a move into a protection mode. Labor costs are among the biggest costs for a business, so an assessment of essential and non-essential headcount is often done, resulting in a RIF. Part of that process invariably cuts the very change management personnel (L&D, Recruitment, OD, etc.) who can help turn things around. That does not make the decision necessarily wrong, but it may not always be the best long-term solution. Short and long-term issues are often in competition with one another. Solving the short-term concern tends to sacrifice long-term benefits while playing the long game tends to create pain and instability for the short term. Businesses just have to make a strategic decision about what is most important to them. What decision best aligns with the mission, vision, and values of the company? Can they weather through the short term pain and even make to the long-term gain? Are they willing to shift course, engage in brand new strategy, in order to resolve the short term concerns even if that means the original long-term goals are not achieved? Perhaps new long-term goals are necessary? Every situation and business is different. No one-sized-fits-all solution and there is no crystal ball.



    I believe leadership feels the pressure from their board of directors or investors for results. In todays world, they want results and they want those results fast. Most business are in the business of making money and lengthening M&A without the promise of success can push leadership to have their M&A teams focus somewhere else especially if the constraints are something that can be fixed later or another way.


    aditi chandra

    Yes, That is so correct. I think company management is focused on short-term goals rather than long-term goals. This is because they are under pressure to perform and make stakeholders happy. I think that is very important for a leader of the company to understand the importance of long-term growth.
    However, I think a lot of companies are thinking otherwise and have been very successful by just understanding the importance of change management but again it is not a very common practice.



    If things are not working well it is usually a sign that management is not making the company perform to the required standard. Hence, they are usually the first to go


    Linda Castle

    Some executives think their companies are super nimble and the employees will quickly absorb big changes in direction. They forgo any organized change management and let things get to a dog eat dog status. Usually this nimbleness comes with very high turnover cost.


    If things are not working well it is usually a sign that management is not making the company perform to the required standard. Hence, they are usually the first to go

    Correct me if I am wrong, but by “management”, I take you to mean executive management. One may like to believe this is true, and there are always cases where it is, but more often than not it seems that middle and lower management are erroneously identified as the root cause and they tend to be separated before upper management under such circumstances. Barring a significant paper trail documenting to the contrary, that is. As they say, it all rolls downhill. And, as they also say “document, document, document”.


    ShaySheri McCarthy

    Change management is often seen as an overweight arm of the PMO office – if it were to be housed separately, it may obtain the respect it deserves.


    Manuela van Ulzen

    Just from experience – in the past “change management” in projects (not explicitly merger, could also be e.g. SAP implementation) was somehow misused: it cost a lot of money, very often a lot of money and the benefits were not clearly measurable.
    In the last projects I have done I did not use CM instead I worked with communication/ communication plans. With a clear, regular and interesting communication you can engage people, show benefits and results and support people to accept change. The ability to do change management (within in normal work, not at a separate task) should be a key skill of every project manager.


    VishnuVardhan A

    its expected that the synergy created from the merger amplifies the production and productivity. keeping that in mind, the change management helps in the process by acting as a cushion between two companies. it also prevents the collision effect.


    Mirinda Lowe

    My experience is that it is often misunderstood, even for the executive leaders who say they “get it”. Perhaps there is not a clear and concrete link between change management and the key success areas of the merger? For me, I know, the better I get at articulating the clear business impacts and results, the more it seems to be adopted and stuck with.



    I think there are 2 prospective to look at. One is called bilateral approach and the other one is unilateral approach. Bilateral approach emphasizes on understanding each other and communicate to ensure all parties reaching certain consensus. On the other hand, unilateral approach will go according to what the acquiring company wanted to be and target company staff have to follow and adopt to the new ways/culture of doing things gradually. Whoever failed to adopt, they have to go as they are not fitting into overall direction of the acquiring company. Change management can be applied in both approaches. Under bilateral approach, more resources might have to be applied in bilateral communication to achieve certain consensus. under the unilateral approach, more works on giving clear guide lines, reviewing and damage control if there is any.

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