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A lot of people are starting their careers in Change Management thanks to fabulous Change Management “Pioneers” who carved out a specialisation over the past 25+ years. Change Management now has a career path from Change Analyst right up to Head of Organisation Change. But what do highly experienced Change Managers do when they want to change their own careers? My answer to that….The possibilities are endless!
In laymen’s terms, Change Management is about people. This can come in the guise of technical, process, behavioural and cultural change. But at the core it’s all about people. A Change Manager is a Coach. They are a negotiator. They are a sounding board. They are the voice of reason and they are trusted advisors. They understand organisational design. They understand ROI, ensuring things are measureable and sustainable. They can present to an Executive Leadership Team and work alongside HR, Marketing, Product, Operations, Technology, CFO’s. In other words, you have a well-rounded General Manager.
The careers of Change Managers don’t have to end with heading up a Change Practice. You can move into leadership roles. Brush up on your financial skills (go on play with excel for a while) but at the core of every great leader is the skill of bringing people together. Getting them aligned to the company’s vision and ensuring it is successful and measureable, of course this goes without saying – but to achieve that – the core skill is people leadership. To quote Richard Branson ‘If You Look After Your Staff, They’ll Look After Your Customers. It’s That Simple.”
I love working with companies who hire on a person’s personality first, their core capability second and their previous industry experience is NOT even considered. Just one example of this was a large telecommunications firm who wanted a General Manager Value Chain (“titles have been changed to protect the innocent”). The team consisted of Lean Six Sigma consultants, Project Managers, Business Analysts and Business Readiness Managers. This EGM got CV after CV of people with process optimisation backgrounds or Program Management backgrounds (I found that weird!). But what he actually wanted was a people leader. Someone who could raise the capability of his team, make a cohesive team, ensure other business units utilised his team, and lastly he wanted someone who would challenge him and not just say yes. Oh and could we balance the diversity of the team as well. After he read the CV of an Organisational Change Manager and talking to him about their style, their approach, their ethos and vision of management, he was sold. Why hire on prior titles or industry when PEOPLE are the common denominator.
There is life after Change: you just need to think outside the square!
Practice Director – Change & Transformation