Change Management Is Dead – Transforming Culture Is the Future

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Change is Transformation

When faced with the rise of different technologies, significant changes in supply and demand, unexpected competition, lack of revenue or other major shifts in how they do business, they need to stay competitive.

Transforming culture is designed to be organization-wide and enacted over a set time. A shift in the business culture of an organization coming from a change in the underlying strategy and processes that the organization has used in the past.

Managing Transformation is not about guesswork. No change happens in isolation, you must consider its impact on the whole organization.

For change to be effective:

  • it needs to be implemented at all levels and embedded in the culture of the organisation.
  • Colleagues need to be motivated and you need to understand what motivates them.
  • Communication needs to be open and consistent to really understand and clarify mutual expectations

Top management should be prepared to involve employees in all phases of the transition.

Articulating the reasons for the change and sharing the senior leaders’ vision of the organization can help the resistance to change. Employees are more likely to accept the change if they view top management as keeping them informed and supporting them throughout the process.

Investing in transformation management support is good for business. When you change well, you gain a distinct competitive advantage. You can respond more quickly and effectively to the rapid changes in the marketplace, with less strain on your organisation.

Here at Growth Engineering we have been directly involved in designing, communicating and implementing transformational change with one of our clients, saving them 4 million.

One of the best ways to understand Change Management is through the story “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson.

Once upon a time…

There are characters who run through a maze looking for Cheese to nourish them and make them happy. Hem & Haw (as small as mice but who look and act a lot like people) with complex brains, beliefs and emotions.

The world they live in is a maze of corridors and chambers, the maze also has a lot of dead ends and it is very easy to get lost in. In the maze is hidden delicious Cheese, if it can be found.


Understanding the secrets of the maze leads to a happy life.

Hem and Haw learn the secrets of the maze and know where the cheese is. They no longer need to search for cheese as they know where to find it. Each day the little people dress in their running gear and race into the maze directly to the cheese.

Over time though…

The lifestyle of Hem and Haw begins to change. They know where the Cheese is, there is no reason to rush out. So, they wake a little later, dress a little slower and walk to the Cheese. They are happy, secure and comfortable.

Eventually there was no more Cheese! All the Cheese had gone from the usual Cheese place. There was just an empty chamber at the end of the corridor deep in the maze.

Unaware of their changing environment Hem and Haw are not prepared to find their Cheese missing. There has always been Cheese, in the cheese place!


“Who Moved My Cheese? It’s Not Fair!”

Hem and Haw rant and rave about the injustice of it all. Soon they become depressed and worry about future plans? Their response to the lack of Cheese is unattractive and unproductive, but understandable.

Hem and Haw returned to the place where the Cheese was, expecting to find their Cheese returned. They analyze the situation to try to understand what has really happened. Angry about the injustice, and looking for reasons for the lack of Cheese. This new situation is unfair, they are entitled to the Cheese and feel betrayed.


They need an answer…

Haw wants to leave the spot where the old Cheese was to try to find other Cheese. He thinks, “Sometimes things change and they are never the same again. This looks like one of those times. That’s life! Life moves on. And so should we. If we do not change we will become extinct.”

Hem doesn’t want to go, he thinks, “It could be dangerous, he is too old, they might get lost, they might not find new Cheese, he might end up feeling stupid. He wants to stay, perhaps if they both work harder they will find that nothing has changed.”


This is the key difference between activity and productivity.

Left on his own Hem thinks, “What if there is no other Cheese in the maze? What if I am unable to find Cheese? Why didn’t I get up and look for new Cheese sooner?”

Looking back the cheese had not disappeared overnight, it got smaller over time, getting older and moldy. He could have anticipated the lack of cheese, was this his fault?

You’ll be pleased to hear Haw decides to join Hem and they both go back in the maze looking for new Cheese.

What Hem and Haw eventually learned from the loss of the Cheese, is that you need to smell the Cheese often so you know when it’s getting old. If the Cheese moves you need to move to find new Cheese in a new direction. It can be scary looking for new Cheese, but when you move beyond your fear you feel free.


Obviously Hem and Haw found more cheese.

As Hem enjoyed the New Cheese, he reflected on what he had learned:

  • Holding on to the illusion of Cheese when it is no longer there did nothing but make him feel bad about himself and his life.
  • The quicker he moved on the sooner he would have found Cheese
  • Old beliefs about Cheese did not help
  • Keep life simple, if the Cheese is not there, find new Cheese, don’t over analyze or complicate.
  • Change with the situation and envision success
  • Learn from mistakes and use them to plan for the future

The Change Journey

like the “Kubler Ross stages of grief”, the Change Journey follows an observed pattern:

  • Optimism
  • Denial
  • Shock
  • Bargaining
  • Anger
  • Adapting
  • Testing
  • Acceptance

The Secret of Success – Imagine yourself enjoying new Cheese even before you find it, this will allow you to let go of the old Cheese that is no longer around. This letting go leads to new Cheese being found sooner. After all it is safer to search the maze than to do nothing and think about the “cheeseless” situation.

Change Happens

– The Cheese Will Always Move

Anticipate Change

– Get Ready For The Cheese To Move

Monitor Change

– Smell The Cheese Often So You Know When It Is Getting Old

Adapt To Change Quickly

– The Quicker You Let Go Of Old Cheese, The Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese

Be Ready To Change Quickly And Enjoy It Again And Again

– Savor The Adventure And Enjoy The Taste Of New Cheese

Move With The Cheese And Enjoy It!

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Source by Juliette Denny

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