Change Management vs. BPR vs. TQM

Yesterday someone from Booz Allen Hamilton, the strategic consulting firm, found their way here by googling "What is the difference between change management and BPR". The number three result was Meet the Nick Carr of Organizational Change Management. I'm afraid that this link wasn't particularly helpful to my visitor. So I'm going to try to make amends by posting a Spooky Action picopolemic&trade on the topic:
BPR is all about the process. Change Management is all about the people.
Any questions? Yes, you in Vienna, Virginia...

"How are they related?"

Excellent question! In an old post I said this:
"The good folks at GE have an equation to put this into perspective:

E = Q x A

Where E is the business effectiveness (e.g., ROI) of an initiative, Q equals the quality of the solution delivered, and A represents the acceptance of the system by those charged with using and managing it."
In a BPR context, unless you've completely automated the process then you won't get 100% of your ROI until 100% of the people involved have internalized the new process! One of the key reasons that many Hammer and Champy style BPR initiatives failed miserably was that their total focus was on the Q component, to the exclusion of the A component. Alas, for most business initiatives you don't get dollar one of ROI until somebody's behavior changes. I won't repeat the most excellent rant extended polemic of the previous post, but there's more discussion of the topic there if you're interested.

Ignore the A component at your peril!

Any other questions?

"Why do companies focus on the Q versus the A, even when they've learned the equation?"

Short answer: because it's easier!

Long answer: because BPR is complicated and Change Management is complex. Understanding the difference is crucial in getting the A component right. More Space is the best business book you don't own. Okay, a couple hundred people own it, and one or two might stop by, but chances are you aren't one of them.

Me, too! You're missing out on thought provoking and actionable material. But don't just take my word for it. Click the link and check out the actual content! In one of the essays, entitled "Simple Ideas, Lightly Held", Johnnie Moore describes the difference between complicated and complex. It's brilliant, and I wouldn't want to try to paraphrase. Go read, or better yet, go listen to Johnnie explain it himself!

Most of our education, and most concepts and tools we use, are designed to address complicated problems, not complex ones. And yet, that equation up there necessitates that we get good at solving complex problems. But to do that, we'll need to reorient some of our thinking:

There. Now the next time someone wants to know the difference between Change Management and BPM, they need only look this far!

Go buy the book!

[Note to Johnnie: Most evocative title of a written work since "A World Lit Only By Fire"]

Incidentally, for those of you wondering about the difference between TQM and BPR, click the title of this post. The link is the best explanation I found.

posted by Mike at 12:42 PM


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