Change Management: Trendy or Tried and True?

Change Management:
Fad or Classic?

By Tamra Chandler and Beth Montag-Schmaltz

According to, a fad is “a temporary fashion, notion, manner of conduct, etc., esp. one followed enthusiastically by a group.”   We would add that a fad often has low or rapidly declining value. While most fads are product-based (Pet Rocks, anybody?), business and management are not immune to the siren song of the latest and greatest.   Remember “quality circles” and management by walking around?
Some have asked whether change management will ultimately prove to be itself a fad or a management classic.   We believe change management is neither a temporary nor a low or rapidly declining value effort. Admittedly it is not often undertaken with zeal.   However, change management provides high value when strategically applied and successfully executed, and it is frequently acknowledged as a key contributor to driving value out of an initiative.  
Change management has never been trendy, and those of us involved in leading and marketing change management programs in corporate America have never really been considered “cool.” Yet the demand for change management is growing steadily and is destined to become a classic tool for driving success.
The most formidable barriers to change management’s general acceptance can be summed up in two words: executives and management.   Change management is a tough space for many executives and their management teams to feel comfortable in or even to speak about with confidence. Why? Because change management is essentially about people, and you cannot drive a change effort without talking about people and the feelings that come with them.  
Commonly, executives like to control and quantify and are frequently rewarded on these bases, but human behavior can be anything but controllable and quantifiable. As executives accept and embrace this paradoxical reality, we will see more and more focus on managing change in the workplace.

In fact,...