UK: Editorial - No escaping the need for change.

UK: Editorial - No escaping the need for change. - The pressure of change is one of the hoary old cliches of the contemporary manager's life. Yet like all cliches it is rooted in reality. In such an environment, organisations cannot stand still. But if o

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The pressure of change is one of the hoary old cliches of the contemporary manager's life. Yet like all cliches it is rooted in reality. In such an environment, organisations cannot stand still. But if organisations must change, so too must the people who make up the organisation.

All change, however, is painful - regardless of whether it is inner-or outer-directed. This is because humans are essentially conservative, and organisations more so. And second because change forces people and organisations to confront truths about themselves that they would rather not. But, as another cliche puts it, 'no pain, no gain'.

It is thus appropriate that three of the features in this issue illustrate different aspects of change. (It would be nice to claim that we had deliberately themed the issue this way, but it's really an accident.)

The first is about change on an individual level. Anybody who puts themselves on an MBA course is, by definition, signalling their willingness to change.

Our feature looks at a group of Cranfield MBAs six years on (page 34).

As you might expect, they have all changed - but not in the ways they themselves would have predicted. Perhaps the most important difference is in the way they now define career fulfilment - a lesson large organisations with traditional managerial career paths must bear in mind.

The second feature is about the growing practice of change management.

Our feature is entitled 'Human re-engineering' (page 66), which is a pretty good way of describing the essence of change management - namely that it picks up where the process re-engineering fad of the early '90s left off (or, arguably, by forgetting about people, failed).

The third feature is a fascinating profile of the normally secretive Procter & Gamble (page 42). Aggressive, obsessive, control-fixated, formula driven - these are the qualities that make up a unique culture that underpins P&G's position as the world's most successful fast-moving consumer goods manufacturer. Yet that, apparently, isn't good enough.

P&G wants to double its sales by 2008. It believes it can only achieve this by building a more open, tolerant and outward-looking culture. This is no mean task. Change in response to external threats is one thing; changing a winning culture is something altogether different.

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