Change Agents – can they handle change?

As a manager, I have had my fair share of changes imposed on me (and my team) because of an incoming exec, and I have done my bit in bringing in change to the organizations I have gone to. If you have been in any of these situations, you will realize that change of any kind is hard: whether it is you who is trying to change an organization, or whether you are the recepient of the change.

However, one of the things that I am realizing as I reflect on these experiences is surprising: people who have brought in changes are sometimes not as good at being recepient of changes as you might think they would be. Even though they may pump their fist and push you hard to change, when it is time for them to change, they come across as change resistors! In one of the change management training I took, they gave us a test which evaluated us on whether we embrace change, we are neutral to change, or we resist change. Now I am much more inclined to think that (assuming such tests are valuable at all) there should be two versions of the test: one to test whether you are good or bad at bringing in change to an organization, and then there should be another one to test whether you are good or bad at receiving change when it is imposed on your organization.

I will not be surprised if these two tests show different results for same individuals. Will you be surprised?

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