Change Management by Immanuel Kant

Let's briefly leave out the asthmatic breathlessness in regard to disruption and digitalisation and agility and look at the seemingly more banal changes that companies are constantly and concretely confronted with: Restructuring, geographical shifts, reorganisation of teams and cooperation – the good old "change projects".

The problem with them is often that one tries to meet them with the equally good and equally old management paradigm: plan everything well and have it under control, then it will work out. Yet even these projects are so complex that they cannot be properly "managed".

The attempt to think through all of it just raises more and more questions, which you try to think through again, but which you can't, and time runs out, and at some point it becomes urgent... Stress increases, which is known to make you dumb, which makes it even more difficult to think through all of it... Sysyphus was a wimp in comparison, after all, with him at least the number of stones didn't constantly double...

The result: You start with the initial disappointment not to be finished, then reality doesn't stick to the plans, and somehow there is no fun to come up.
A suggestion for consideration: if you can't think things through, just let it stay – the thinking through, I mean. Make do with a slim set of rules that is incomplete, but shows the outline of the desired future, and just start.

And then what? Then comes Immanuel Kant. You know, the categorical imperative: "Act only according to the maxim through which you can at the same time want it to become a general law."

The derivation for the initial phase in new constellations: "If you come across an unregulated situation, make a decision in the best sense of the matter and judge whether you want to derive an application for a rule or rule change from it." If you then additionally set up regular reflection formats that allow the rules to be adapted, extended or reduced on the basis of the experience gained (do not forget to reduce...), then only as many rules as necessary are created, and only those that have practical benefits, and even better: with the participation of those affected.

That has charm, doesn't it? And some extremely stress-reducing advantages, too:

  • You don't have to take on a Mission Impossible, which is called " know everything in advance and make the right decisions NOW for all eternity!"
  • What you decide now doesn't even have to be right; it is enough if it seems right from today's point of view. What does not prove itself later will be adapted. That sounds banal, but you would be amazed at how often organisations fail due to a lack of learning ability.

The biggest obstacle? As always, it is not because of insight. Intellectually, all this has already been chewed through. It is the lack of acceptance for uncertainty. "Fear of loss of control" is most often mentioned as the greatest inner obstacle. However, there is an elegant solution if you give the concept of "control" a new meaning:

"Keeping control" in the future will rather mean keeping control over yourself: By having basic confidence in one's own abilities and in a basic methodology for dealing with dynamic developments. We no longer have to keep the course of things under control, but our ability to react. Then ease can enter, and juggling loses its terror – indeed, it is also fun.

planning in advance won't get you far...zoom