Change management is neither art nor science.....

Posted by David Miller on Mar 26, 2010

In John Kay’s new book Obliquity he talks about expertise. He says

"In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell uses the example of the Getty Kouros statue, whose provenance was “validated” by scientific testing, but which experts immediately perceived as fake. But the important point is not that the judgments were quick, but that the judgements were expert: that they were made by people who had a history of being right about such things. Their judgements reflected the eclectic knowledge and diverse methods that people with genuine skills employ in practical problems. Expert ­judgement is how we deal with a complex world – and assessing the quality of expert judgment is how we choose people to help us deal with it"

That’s how I see change management. It’s a craft that we practice. Its not science but neither is it art. We learn tools, processes and skills and we filter them through experience (successes and failures) into the way we practice. It's hard in a world that wants a quick fix or instant performance, after you have had a one hour ‘training course’. It seems difficult to remember that most people learn better through doing rather than the sedentary act of listening alone. That real expertise comes from old fashioned repetition and practice. I see a big challenge for us in the years to come trying to balance speed and agility with mastery. We could be left with change leaders whose skill set is shallow and under-developed. If we get it right we’ll harness the web and all the accumulated knowledge about productive learning into an effective set of learning tools for people.

Tags: change management, Change Management, Change methodology, General, John Kay, Learning

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