The People Side Of Change

Who Should Be Responsible For  Managing The People Side Of Change?

I’m breaking the question down into its answerable parts.

First, “Responsible” should be, as famously seen in RACI charts, distinguished from “accountable”. Responsible parties are the actual causal actors of an event, presumably by assignment (if looking forward), and regardless of the outcomes.

Manage” should be an articulated idea as well. The purpose of management is to:

  • support progress explicitly
  • by keeping resource expenditure intentionally aligned, effectively,
  • to the current path of opportunity for a targeted effect,
  • continually throughout the effort.

We might think that appointing a responsible manager is  at least something that we can do as a decision based on assessment of skills.

But with the manager in place, the obvious question becomes, what is it about people that now gets applied management, and therefore, what manager ought to be applying it?

People side” should be called out as meaning:

  • the understanding, willingness and exercise that are contained in…
  • people’s inclusion, role and impact actually (not theoretically) obtained in the effort to change.

Change” itself should be called out as meaning transition; that supplies the perspective for calling out the two overriding issues of change:

  • risks to completion, and
  • risks to adoption.

The existing size and existing complexity of an organization typically dictates a lot of the factors that go into deciding the “5 Ws” about managing: the Who, What, Where, When and Why. From considering the meanings above, each of these five factors is clearly a variable in the overall equation for change.

That’s why the answer to the original question cannot just be declared. It actually has to be discovered by thinking through what the question means in the given organization.