My Lessons in Change Management

Last year I reduced my weight by about 16 kgs. It was an interesting journey. In the process I learned many things that could be applied to the corporate world, especially when one is required to bring about changes in the organization.

The biggest challenge in losing weight was to have determination. And my wife was very determined that I lose weight. When bringing about major changes in an organization, it is important that senior management is determined and committed to making things happen.

I tell my friends that the first step towards losing weight is to get a digital scale. Measurement is critical when you want to bring about changes. And accuracy of measurement is very important. It is imperative that you measure and monitor progress. Measure and plot on a graph of your progress. I measured my weight around the same time each morning, trying to wear just about the same number of clothes. Try to keep the parameters that impact what you are measuring constant. This helps provide a better measure of progress.

One of my colleagues remarked sometime back that she discussed this weight loss tip at home. Her husband told her that he will get her five digital scales if it makes her lose weight. So of course, only measurement is not enough to bring about change but a very critical first step.

I discussed my journey over last year with my wife. Determination and measurement helped get the program off the ground. My wife told me that the most difficult thing for her was to get me to eat alternative food that would be equally exciting and yet help me reduce weight. My body and mind was so used to certain eating habits that it is very difficult to change. The alternative had to be equally exciting so that the mind and body doesn’t keep reverting to the old habits. In organizations, we are used to our old processes and ways of doing things. The change has to be equally exciting for people to adopt. Bring about change is difficult, and it helps if the new processes, tools, structures etc. has things that will be exciting for everyone.

It seems the hypothalamus needs about one year to adjust to the new weight and start controlling the food intake. So the new weight needs to be maintained for at least one year before the body will completely adjust to it and you will not gain weight again after losing it. In an organization change initiatives will die a natural death if they are not continued for a period of time. We will revert to our old processes and ways of working if the changes are not in place for a sufficient period of time.

I have slowly started gaining weight again. I think senior management needs to revitalize its determination to keep the weight under control :-).

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