The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it. ― Marcus Aurelius
While driving home from meeting a client recently, I mulled over the changes he wanted to make in order to expand his small business. While the experts have a theory for change management that everyone in business uses, the space geek in me prefers to look to the universe and its patterns to find different answers. I realized my client should manage change the same way we view the Expansion of the Universe.
The Big Bang Theory Model
Many businesses focus their change management efforts in a way that is backwards to what we know about how our universe began and the changes it has undergone as it has expanded. A popular graphic shows how this expansion starts from an infinitely small explosive point and evolves into a wide funnel shape.
Change Management Process
A typical change management process has a lot of up-front emphasis placed on establishing the vision and the strategy for executing that vision. Many the experts such as Dr. Kotter and the folks at internationally recognized change firm Prosci emphasize the critical need for a vision and strategy before embarking on a change event. But the overemphasis looks like this:
I agree having a vision and strategy in place before undertaking change is critical. But that’s the easy part of change. The hard part of change is execution and actually getting people to do things differently. It’s all a matter of breaking long established habits which I’ve written about previously.
Change Management and the Universe
How does this relate to the Universe? Equate a change event to the big-bang. After the big-bang, activities progress in successive order of both importance and time consumption. Meaning, it’s important to have a vision and strategy in place first, but they happen early in the change cycle and comparatively take a small amount of time. Execution happens later and takes much more time. A more appropriate depiction of a change management process would look just like the Expansion of the Universe:
I recently shared this with my client and he agreed. He is now working through the vision, strategy and planning of his change, but understands the greatest challenge comes in executing the change. What do you think? Is the big-bang model more representative of change as you know and have experienced it?