• richardhcarson

Welcome to the Book of Change

Updated: Jun 23

Welcome to the Book of Change! If the name sounds familiar it is because the other Book of Changes was published some 2,500 years ago in China. It was also called the I-Ching (易經) and was an ancient text used to determine divine intent. I created the Book of Change with another kind of divination in mind. It was to make sense of the topic of organizational change management or OCM.

According to the Harvard Business Review, “A recent search on for books on ‘change management’ turned up 6,153 titles, each with a distinct take on the topic.” When I did a similar Google search of ‘change management,’ I got “3,790,000,000 results (0.73 seconds).”

The Book of Change was created with the following features:

Website. The Book of Change provides you, the organizational change manager, with a one-stop shopping website where information can be found quickly and easily.

Blog. The Book of Change is also a twice monthly blog that delivers a series of concise essays on the topics related to organizational change management (OCM). The website will also provide links to other essays on the topic that I find interesting.

Model. The Book of Change also provides the first doctorate level, academic literature search of the most prominent OCM models. This in turn has resulted in the first comprehensive, life-cycle OCM model (PSOCM) that involves three Phases, ten Steps, and forty Actions the change manager can incorporate into their own OCM activities.

Managing change could be you helping your small workgroup change from one software program to another new and hopefully an improved one. Or it could be a massive organizational change like the one that occurred in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe and overnight created the need for remote office work. If the corporate world had read my essay on the Nature of Change (January 2018) and taken it seriously, then they could have mitigated the impact. I identified it as a Black Swan event. It was one among several that are easily identified.

As an academic, I spent my doctoral research reading every publication, periodical, and research paper on this subject so that you, the reader, don’t have to. And I will tell you that much of what I read wasn’t worth reading. I can’t stress the importance of my doing a longitudinal, doctorate level, literature review and meta-analysis. I did this in three phases.

Phase 1. I reviewed 153 publications that I called the Polymatheia Project. That study was built on the original work of Dr. Peter Vaill of George Washington University (Vaill, 2001).

Phase 2. In the end I narrowed my focus down to three dozen publications. This was a literature scan of publications purported to be about organizational change management or organizational development. Phase two was a review of some three-dozen selected books for what I call relevancy.

Phase 3. In the third and final phase, I identified 22 productive models to work with.

I cannot stress the importance of this foundational work. The product of my academic literature review was the creation of PSOCM or People Sustained Organizational Change Management. It presents the first complete life-cycle series of steps that can be utilized in total, in phases or as discrete actions.

Literature Terminology. One of the more annoying aspects of my research was the dealing with the constant creation of new terminology by authors who hope that people will start using their terms in the technology field and that will in turn create consulting work and training sessions. Consider the recent creation of words like scrum master, agile, and servant leader. A scrum master is simple a project manager or team leader. Consider that scrum is actually a Rugby term. Do you know anything about the game of Rugby? Let me give you Oscar Wilde’s view of the game, “Rugby is a good occasion for keeping thirty bullies far from the centre of the city.” I don’t know about you, but this is not how I want my team described.

The real money in the field of change management is not just selling books, it is in selling consultant services and program training. One of the top change management programs charges $4,400 for their three-day seminar at a destination resort. That is a pittance compared to the $18.95 they sell their book for. Spoiler alert. My book comes with no expensive training at some expensive destination resort hotel complex. I will also strive to not introduce new terms into the field for personal gain.

Comprehensiveness. One of my main criticisms of the existing literature is that most of the literature is theoretical at best. Some of them read like metaphysical self-help books. Even the best of them have step-by-step actions that are extremely vague. My People Sustained Organizational Change Management (PSCOM®) model is both comprehensive and detailed. Therefore, one criticism of my methodology is that it is too complex. I would only reply that I have constructed the model so that it can be used in discrete sets of actions.

The comprehensive model is meant to be used over the lifetime of the organization. However, discrete components can be used to address specific organizational events as they occur. For example, the heart of the model is contained in Step 5.0 Diagnosis, 6.0 Design Interventions, and 7.0 Implement Change. These steps can be used as a standalone approach to addressing a needed change. The advisability of doing just this depends on the situational analysis where the urgency outweighs the advisability.

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