My previous two blog posts have very much focused on the negative frustrations, ambiguities and misrepresentations of words and phrases. I don’t want to dwell any more on those frustrations but I wanted to focus on the positive and successful use of words that are out there.
I was delivering a workshop a year or so back, when some attendees from out of town started talking about the rebranding their organization had gone through. The labels attached to various departments and divisions within their organization were changed to be more user friendly. Instead of division, department or other such phrases they had moved to “people” or “team” as descriptors of the groups and instead of long complex phrases, they had simplified it into one or two words. For example the finance and procurement division was now “the money people” although they are still doing all financial works like finding car finance for buying new cars and the human resources, learning and organizational development department was rebranded “the people people”. There were a few other such areas mentioned in conversation – “the tech team”, “the welcome team” and “the processing people” to name a few others. Now there may be a smile associated with hearing this but it really resonated with me. So often we think the more complex the title, name or other label associated with something, then the grander or more important it is. Yet, that is simply not so. Just saying what it is and how it works is a simple idea that really speaks volumes to me.
So how does this relate to my change management labeling challenge? I think that we have done ourselves an injustice using the term change management. It has too many ambiguities and confusion areas. People see it as change control management in projects, tech builds and the like. Sometimes it is confused with managing change which is akin to the project management methodology. I’ve seen many discussions replace the phrase with change leadership, leadership development, organizational development and strategy execution. I hold my own hand up and say “guilty as charged” – I’ve done it myself. I have also had the 30 minute conversations around “so what is it you do?”
Around four months ago I was at the ACMP Conference in Las Vegas and had some very thought provoking moments through discussions with others and listening to conversations. The ACMP Academy was probably the catalyst for this but since that time I’ve been playing around in my head with a better way of saying what we do, change management folks. I looked at what, why and how we do things in our realm of activity. Broadly we focus on the people side of change and either we help people to deal with a change that is impacting their existence (personal and/or professional) or we help people to change based on a need to refocus their approach or direction (again personal and/or professional) and often it is both simultaneously! But I ask why are we doing this and it’s about getting people to give of their best in a given situation, or transition that they are experiencing and we act as navigator to that journey. We want to get them to maximize their potential within their existence and that is by understanding and embracing the changes they face and making their own necessary changes to best deal with this. This thought process led me to “maximizing human potential” as a tag line to better explain what I do than the label change management. What I am saying is really one and the same, but for people who sit outside the realm of the discipline the confusion of the label is a burden I wish we didn’t have to carry.
Now I throw it open to you? What terms or phrases do you think are better? Have you come across anything like “the people people”? Is it just liability we have to manage in our world? Do comment below or email me directly – or both!