can you really manage change?

Creating a service offering called change management has to be one of the most brilliant consulting moves ever.  It's like selling fresh air.  Clients everywhere perk up when it's mentioned.  For a moment, they can imagine a time and place where the team expertly pulls levers and pushes buttons at just the right points during implementation.  Everyone gets in line and is delighted with the new policy, technology, seating arrangement, whatever.

There are some interesting dynamics at play.  One is the belief that everyone else (other agencies in this case) have an easier time because they have more money, more leadership support, more homogeneity, more control. 

Other organizations projects generally look rosier from afar-- the farther the better.  (Shhh, they're not.  They're actually just as messy if not more.) Another is a belief that communications can fix just about anything.  If we just tell the "stakeholders" again, they'll get it and stop acting like toddlers. Yet another is that implementation was never supposed to be this hard-- everything looked so straightforward during the demo!

The desire to manage the chaos and move forward is, of course, a great goal.  And, much of the change management stuff won't hurt but we can overestimate the degree to which it can help either.  

Instead, finding an easier path should be about two things-- 1) going with the grain-- using your organization's strengths and 2) sticking to it.