Letter: Man management

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The Independent Online
Sir: Price Waterhouse has got it badly wrong ("Want to know what's really holding back your business?", 2 October). People are not barriers to change - they are the only parts of a business which can make change happen at all.

The real problem is that senior managers often ignore the knowledge, understanding and needs of their employees when planning change. It's not surprising if employees and middle managers are not committed to change if this is presented to them as a fait accompli from above. Change, for most people over the last 10 years or so, has meant adjusting to new jobs, developing new skills, relocating, downsizing, new contractual terms, new and more challenging ways in which performance and reward are affected. Difficult factors to come to terms with.

It's also not surprising if the people who make such a botch of the job of change blame those below them. But the real fault lies at the top - poor change strategies. And the answer is surprisingly simple. Consult, consult, consult: with your staff, your customers, with everyone who might be affected. It makes for a longer and more difficult process initially, but it works far better in the end.


Principal Lecturer in Management

London Guildhall University

London EC2