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A Heart-to-Heart Talk about Process and Change Management

Aug 17, 2007
A friend of yours has just been told by his physician that he needs an artificial heart in order to have any chance of survival. Excited, you realize this situation has created the perfect opportunity for you to explore the relationship between process management and change management.

Googling artificial heart surgery reveals that the use of an artificial heart is now possible because of years of pioneering work in two separate but related fields...

* Artificial Heat Manufacture - the design, engineering, manufacture, testing, and refining of an effective and efficient artificial heart

* Artificial Heart Surgery - the surgical procedure for implanting the heart that maximize the patient's changes of recovery

Obviously success in both areas is essential; a great heart ineffectively implanted won't suffice, and effectively implanting a defective heart is just as bad.

The same relationship exists between process management and change management:

* Process Management is like the artificial heart. Process Management has been pioneered, tested, and refined and has been proven to improve organizational performance ... if it can be implemented (implanted) and used on a day-by-day basis by an organization.

* Change Management is like the surgery. Change Management is a distinct discipline with principles, methods, and techniques that have been proven to work in making the kinds of comprehensive changes that are needed to put a new management discipline (like Process Management) into play.

Let's take the heart analogy one final step and look at how Process Management and Change Management must work together to result in a healthy patient. Four things can happen during implementation, and three of them are bad...

1. Flawed PM content and invalid CM = organizational damage, wrong ideas about PM that are fortunately not implemented

2. Flawed PM content and valid CM = organizational disaster, spreading ideas and practices that hurt, not help the organization to get better results

3. Valid PM content and invalid CM = organizational boondoggle, a waste of time and money and a turn-off to the organization about PM value

4. Valid PM content and valid CM = organizational results ... that come from more effective and efficient business processes

The bottom line is that Process Management can enable powerful improvements in business results, but getting Process Management into play - implementing it as a change Management initiative - is the hardest part.

Like an artificial heart and the surgical equipment/procedures to implant it, Process Management and Change Management must be "joined at the hip" to achieve success.
About the Author
Get a free copy of the 250-page change manifesto Change is the Rule: Free Change Management Book

Dutch Holland and Gary Skarke are principals of Holland & Davis, specializing in helping clients implement change.
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