HBR: All Management Is Change Management


When I joined Sue in January 1995, we were the American Apparel Contractors Association, an association of suppliers, the vast majority of them small factories.In 1998, we changed our name to the American Apparel Producers' Network, an online connected network of suppliers, which quickly grew to a 2:1 ratio of producer:service members.

In 2001, we opened our membership to the Americas changing our name to the Americas Apparel Producers' Network. In that one year, we motivated 70 brands, retailers, yarn spinners, fabric producers and factories in the Americas to join.To summarize this sequence, we saw how we were like every other association. We were social and not important. We changed nothing.

So we decided to keep deciding – to embrace technology, enlist brands, open to offshore, network the supply chain, reward ideas.  Today, we are changers of suppliers, a networking platform to literally implement the changes you, each member, wants to see. 

Rob Siltanen wrote “To the Crazy Ones," the celebrated commercial that launched Apple's Think Different campaign, which reads: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” 

All Management Is Change Management
HBR: October 26, 2017

Change management is having its moment. There’s no shortage of articles, books, and talks on the subject. But many of these indicate that change management is some occult subspecialty of management, something that’s distinct from “managing” itself. This is curious given that, when you think about it, all management is the management of change.

If sales need to be increased, that’s change management. If a merger needs to be implemented, that’s change management. If a new personnel policy needs to be carried out, that’s change management. If the erosion of a market requires a new business model, that’s change management. Costs reduced? Productivity improved? New products developed? Change management.

The job of management always involves defining what changes need to be made and seeing that those changes take place. Even when the overall aim is stability, often there are still change goals: to reduce variability, cut costs, reduce the time required, or reduce turnover, for example. Once every job in a company is defined in terms of the changes to be made (both large and small), constant improvement can become the routine. Each innovation brings lessons that inform ongoing operations. The organization becomes a perpetual motion machine. Change never occurs as some sort of happening; it is part of everyday life. Read More