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“If you try to plan in too much detail into change management process,
you will just create false security and controlled madness.”
level. Too soon, and stability leads to stalemate, which
prevents change. People love and search for stability, a
clear view and order. That makes sense, because with
order, the result of stability, we achieve peace and secu-
rity. Or put differently, more time for important things.
However, as paradoxical as it may sound, insecurity
helps us to ask the right questions. It is a requirement
for creativity, consideration, the learning process and
a responsible approach to risk. As a result, in change
projects, pragmatism is more important than sticking to
principles. That can mean that we accept “as good as”
or alternatives. Every plan, every announcement about
the future, every prognosis carries the unknown with
“If you try to plan in too much detail into change
management process, you will just create false security
and controlled madness,”
says Hess. It’s more pragmatic
to focus on results and milestones.
Now we owe you an answer to the question
blame?” Usually the answer is: “everyone else.” But we
have asked the wrong question. The right question is:
“Who takes responsibility?” Let’s really step on the gas,
ideally with a lot of small detours, instead of making a
beeline for the summit – quickly, with agility and in-
We want to see the value and use in what we do. This
is not just private but also true of our professional lives.
On this basis, motivating employees is for many the
“holy grail” in change projects. But what is motivation
and how can we motivate others? It is clear that moti-
vation does not just appear on its own. It is the result
of different reasons for movement, handling people in
a way that the most difficult results are also achieved.
Dr. Reinhard Sprenger
divides motivation into the fol-
lowing categories: performance environment (such as
formulation of tasks, recognition), capabilities (as well
as skills), and motivation (personal attitude). Many
managers find it difficult to understand whether their
employees want to be motivated or not. A person’s in-
dividual attitude can rarely be influenced by manage-
ment. The focus of change should be on designing a
performance environment that fits the people who will
exist in it – there is a lot of room for that in change proj-
ects. By using small steps, in the “micro-habit” princi-
ple, behavior changes can be made.
“You can’t introduce
new processes in a Big Bang approach, as they will just
immediately be disconnected, as we well know from un-
countable software projects,”
says Hess. When it comes
to developing skills, you can’t turn a recreational cy-
clist into a professional one overnight – the willingness
to learn and change in an organization requires train-
ing, time and patience.
Who’s to blame?
The environment in change management projects is of-
ten volatile and affected by uncertainties and complex-
ity. However, change actually needs insecurity at the
start. Stability is the result of change, but on a higher
Bernd Zanger // Directorb.email@example.com
Markus Treiber // Co-CEOm.firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Ron Ashkenas, “Was sich ändern muss” (What needs to change), Harvard Business Manager, 2012.
2 Dr. Reinhard K. Sprenger, “An der Freiheit des anderen kommt keiner vorbei,“ 2013.