Managers Love Change, They Just Hate Being Changed

December 4, 2012

In today’s corporate culture, who are the successful managers? For the most part, they are the ones who excelled at implementing the goals of the business. To do this, they needed a thorough understanding of where the company came from, where it was now, and how all of the current processes interrelated. On that basis, they were able to determine how to combine existing projects and products, minimise overhead, and maximise profit.

The goal of most of these managers was security. The rationale, even if it was unconscious, went something like this: If I can dominate my market, my company will be secure. If I can save my company money, my position will be secure. If we can produce our products and services more efficiently than our rival, our production project will be secure.

So, even though most managers accept and understand that change is a necessary part of the business process, and that change is required for their company to thrive and grow, they still resist it. The reason is simple. Change threatens security. If the environment is changing, it is unclear what path leads to security. So, while they trumpet the need for change, they are only interested in small changes, the kind that lead to further efficiencies in an already understood process. When it comes to big changes, the kind that will send their company in a whole new direction from where it was before, they dig in their heels and throw as many blocks in the way as they can.

For managers and businesses to succeed in the future, they will have to incorporate change at all levels, and not just change for the sake of it. Change is not something that can be imposed from without, at least not successfully. Instead, everyone in a company needs to learn to be comfortable in an environment of constant change, where the actions that protected your job, your project, or your organisation yesterday cannot and will not protect your job, your project, or your organisation tomorrow.

Since the current way of doing things will not succeed in the long run, everyone needs to be willing and able to try new things. That means the corporate culture which punishes failure is actually setting the corporation up for the biggest failure of all. If managers feel that the risk of changing and potentially failing is greater than the risk of doing the same thing they’ve always done – even if they know what they’ve always done will fail, but that the failure can be blamed on someone or something else – then they won’t take the risk. They won’t change.

Many thanks

Scott Rumsey

Senior Management Trainer & Consultant at MTD Training

(Image by Salvatore Vuono at

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