There are quite some misperceptions with regard to ‘change management’. Like the idea ‘that people would not like change’. That ‘they would resist change by definition’…
I have learned that this assumption is not quite right. Because -for example- people go on holidays ‘for a change’. And they change their house, their garden and sometimes even their relationship ‘for a change’. As a matter of fact, companies like IKEA derive their mere existance from the intrinsic desire of the customer to ‘change’.
The core principle underneath ‘change’ seems to be that people do not want to BE changed . As soon as there is a true aspect of self steering and self direction connected to the change, the change process will turn out to be better understood, smoother and the output will be of a better quality.
During my work as a Program Manager and Project Manager within oftentimes very large international companies I have noticed that I feel at my best when I have the opportunity to shape the changes in an organic, evolutonary and participative way.
That suits my character and it also suits the character of the enterprises involved. This means that the key words in my change approach will be words like ’empathy’, ‘communication’ and ‘respect’.
If it is possible to conduct change in this fashion, the end-effect will be that the change is sustainable. That there will not be a ‘roll back to the old and usual pattern’ once the ‘change agents’ have done their job..
Send mail to Han Stouten
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Case: Work Place Innovation on Philips’ High Tech Campus
In 2010 and 2011 -working as staff consultant for the Philips CIO- I have conducted a change for ~ 2000 IT employees of Royal Philips Electronics. As a result of a major re-organization within Philips Corporate IT, they were planned to move from 14 different locations in the city of Eindhoven to one central location on the ‘Philips High Tech Campus’.
In doing so I managed the introduction of a totally new way of working within Royal Philips Electronics called ‘Work Place Innovation’, in short ‘WPI’. The ‘WPI’ -project was set up as a ‘Corporate Pilot’. If the ‘WPI pilot’ would turn out to be successful, the ‘WPI standard’ would -as of that moment in time- become the norm within Philips world wide.
The Work Place Innovation-concept was strongly inspired by a different view in society in 2010 on the fenomenon ‘work-life-balance’ as well as by developments in this field within large enterprises like Amazon, Microsoft, Google and -in the Netherlands- Rabobank and Interpolis. WPI is based on 3 pillars: ‘People’, ‘Place’ en ‘Technology’.
The introduction of the WPI-concept meant for all ±2000 employees involved that they would not have a designated office anymore. Instead they would get a series of state of the art and extremely well equipped buildings at their disposal. All employees would be allowed to work from their homes using newly provided cell phones and laptops. For a large company of over 100 years old, where the square meters of one’s office used to be directly related to one’s ‘rank’ in the company, this change truly was a major one.
Thanks to the chosen approach the WPI pilot has turned out to be extremely successful. As of that point in time, it became the standard for all office refurbishments as well as for all new buildings within Royal Philips Electronics World wide.