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Is Business Change Management the same or fundamentally different to Business Transformation? It’s something we get asked fairly frequently.

Significant research has already been conducted on this topic, however, it’s still a question that gets raised by clients and candidates. With this in mind, we’ll endeavour to bring some new thoughts to the table from the perspective of our specific industry.

From our experience and the types of roles we headhunt for, the two areas are different. However, to add to the confusion, an overlap does exist, especially when it comes to recruiting for these complex business areas. Imagine a Venn diagram with a grey area in the centre.

What is Change Management?

To put it simply, organisations bring in Change Management professionals to execute a change project internally. It involves getting the right people to back the proposal, be that a department or an organisation as a whole. The crucial skill required is convincing people that the specific ‘change’ is the right thing to do. Making people believe, and in turn back the plan to ensure it is fully realised, is fundamental. The clue is in the name really, with change comes an improved version of the past. A Change Management project tends to have an end result in sight, which is why contractors are often employed to oversee the implementation of this intended change.

We work with many Change Management professionals. These include Change Analysts, Change Communication Managers and Change Directors, whose experience, skills and motivation make them ideal to carry out these type of projects.

What is Business Transformation?

On the other end of the spectrum are Transformation professionals, of whom we find candidates from a consultative background are particularly attracted and suited to. With Transformation, the organisation’s past, the way things have been previously done, is not a considered metric when it comes to defining the future. This is especially true when it comes to Digital Transformation. Its very definition means it has no real time limit, in fact many organisations describe themselves as being in a ‘constant state of Transformation’.

The purpose is not just to execute change but to completely reinvent the organisation. With Transformation comes heightened risk as the future is not yet written. It is fluid and flexible but of course the risk doesn’t always pay off. An article from Forbes, written in 2018, looks at the number of companies who failed to implement Digital Transformation successfully.

Interestingly, the reasons for transformation failure are often connected to mind-set. This also happens to be the main cause for failure or incompletion of specific change management projects. Herein lies the grey area.

Ultimately, both functions require people; a team with a broadly similar skill-set. They need to be able to set and manage expectations. They must have the  determination to create a new collaborative culture. The ability to drive the whole organisation towards achieving the defined project, the change, the transformation.

Whether the project duration is for 6 months, 6 years or has no end date, ensuring you have the right team in place from the outset is paramount.

Greybridge Search & Selection are specialists in the recruitment of Business Change, Transformation and Strategy Management professionals, operating across a range of sectors. Read more about what we do and get in touch if you think our services could be of benefit.