The Hard Side of Change Management

The Hard Side of Change Management

The authors hold high academic accolades. Harold L. Sirkin holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago. He earned his bachelor’s degree from The Wharton School (Bloomberg, n.d). Sirkin is currently serving as a director at Brady Corporation, a global manufacturer of complete solutions. Sirkin has also served at the prestigious The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. He held the position of global leadership and operations practice (Bloomberg, n.d). Sirkin’s education and experience articulates well with what he wrote. Applying his education and experience, Sirkin has contributed immensely to the contentious issue of change management. Having worked for The Boston Consulting Group, a global management-consulting firm, Sirking was able to gain practical knowledge on change management in organizations.

Perry Keenan holds a BSc, mathematics and biology from the University of Auckland. He also holds an accreditation for Program for Management Development from Harvard Business School. Keenan also holds ME, mechanical engineering from the University of Auckland. Perry Keenan is currently the Senior Partner and Managing Director at The Boston Consulting Group, a position he has held for 29 years. His areas of specialization include strategy development, operational design, project risk management, enablement, change management, and leadership. Keenan’s education and experience relate to what he wrote. His education enables him to understand how companies operate and apply change management initiatives. Keenan’s experience at The Boston Consulting Group has provided practical knowledge in change management and leadership. Alan Jackson holds a MBA from Harvard Business school, and Bachelor of Arts (B.A), Economics from Magna Cum Laude. His education in business administration relates closely with what he co-authored on change management.

Sirkin, Keenan, and Jackson (2005) contend that about 67 percent of change initiatives do fail. Part of the reason is that there is no consensus on the factors that affect transformation initiatives. Each executive holds a different perspective about the factors influencing change initiatives. In addition, there are many books on managing change initiatives, each with a different concept from the other one. Executives may end up applying different change initiatives in various units, leading to confusion. According to Sirkin, Keenan, and Jackson (2005), effective change management involves combination of soft and hard approaches. Contemporary soft change initiatives involve areas such as leadership, culture, and employee motivation. The hard change initiatives have three unique features: first, they are measurable using direct or indirect means, second, companies can easily communicate their impact, and third, organizations can be able to effect the change elements quickly (Sirkin, Keenan, & Jackson, 2005). Most of the change initiatives fail because companies overemphasize the soft initiatives, while ignoring the hard initiatives. The three identify the hard elements using the acronym DICE, for duration, integrity, commitment, and effort.

Change management involves values and ethics to some extent. In organizations where employees have high ethical and moral values, it is easier to implement change. This is because employees are more likely to embrace change. Change may also involve extra work or tasks for employees. As such, it may require that employees show more commitment in their work. The management must see the leaders as committed towards change for them to embrace change.

What I can apply to change initiatives is the knowledge that soft approaches may not be enough to bring about desired results within the organization. Thus, apart from culture change, leadership, and motivation, there is need to apply hard tactics in change management. The first hard element, duration, involves ensuring the shortest possible time between milestones. Integrity involves ensuring the entire change team has the right skills to effect change. Commitment involves ensuring the leadership is committed towards bringing change. The last element, effort, involves ensuring there is balance in the extra work that emerges. Overworking the employees may lead to frustration and demotivation, leading to low achievement of targeted outcomes.


Bloomberg. (n.d). Brady Corporation. Retrieved from capId=171296

Keenan, P. (2017). BCG. Retrieved from keenan.aspx

Sirkin, H., Keenan, P., & Jackson, A. (2005). The hard side of change management.

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