The Transformational Challenge
Any company that is seriously considering a heavy investment in a
customer intelligence — or customer relationship management —
initiative, needs to think deep about the challenge of change. This is
where many of our "new economy" disappointments and unmet expectations
can be traced.
Too often, companies have invested heavily in information technology
but have remained relatively ignorant of the potential implications
within (and beyond)their organizations. They’ve failed to build
momentum and generate "buy in" from others. They’ve ignored their
existing assets (be they people, processes or relationships). Following
the advice of folks like Michael Hammer, they’ve shoved it down
peoples’ throats in the name of "creative destruction."
Well, now, an insightful response to the Hammer approach has been
issued by a consultant and Columbia University professor named Eric
Abrahamson. His book, Change Without Pain, argues that successful and enduring change is most likely to be effected through "creative recombination." Indeed, he offers "dynamic stability" as an alternative to messy and disruptive chaos.
"Rather than obliterating and then reinventing anew, creative
recombination seeks sustainable, repeatable transformation by
reconfiguring the people, structures, culture, processes, and networks
the company already has," he contends. He argues for a "smoother, more
cost-efficient, less painful organizational change" and offers guidance
in how to achieve it.