There is nothing permanent except change. - Heraclitus
Change means that what was before wasn't perfect. People want things to be better. - Esther Dyson
To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. - Winston Churchill
All organizations deal with change. Sometimes change is intentional, sometimes it arrives out of the blue. Even if a change was unanticipated, sometimes it is well within capacity, but other times it becomes wholly disruptive. How do organizations best deal with significant change, small change, planned change, unpredictable and out-of-control change?
In all cases, it depends on adaptation - considering the questions "Where are we now? Where do we want to be? How do we get there?". Adapting well regardless of the size and type of change is a key to sustainable organizations. Organizations make choices about how to invoke change from within, and how to respond to changes that come from external sources. Change management, or change leadership (or whatever name works well for you) requires understanding and influencing these choices, and the impacts on the people affected. Doing this well is necessary for any organization to remain relevant within its environment.
Organizations often focus on and invest in having the best processes for getting things done. Smart organizations consider how their members respond to change, big or small. This focus on people must be seen as a work process of its own - one that helps the organization progress from one operating state to the direction of the new desired state. This focus requires an adaptive organization, one that is not static. Change is not a single transition or transaction - it is a core process constantly in operation.
Change work is complementary to process improvement - ensuring essential processes are viable with the people involved with them, adapting along the way.