5 Common Change Management Myths Debunked

Change is inevitable and it happens in organisations all the time. Yet, prioritising the facilitation and management of change rarely happens (if even at all) resulting in negative employee perception toward the change, low morale, and engagement, and more often than not, a failed implementation.

“There is nothing permanent except change.”

— Heraclitus.

Why, when successful Change Management has been proven to increase project success, is it still so misunderstood? Together with approaches that are not people-centric, we believe common myths about the profession are to blame. To dispel some of these myths, we’ve listed the top 5 offenders below and provide some insight into what Change Management actually entails.

Myth 1: Change Management is just about communication.

Change Management is much more than just communication development and management. It is a systematic approach to helping people understand, accept, and adopt change. It involves a variety of activities, such as:

  • Planning and managing the change process.
  • Communicating and engaging effectively with stakeholders.
  • Building support for the change.
  • Addressing resistance to change.
  • Monitoring and evaluating the change process.

Have you read our article “Project Communications: Barriers & Gateways”? Read it here.

Myth 2: Change Management is only necessary for big changes.

Change Management is important for any type of change, regardless of its size or complexity. Even small changes can have a significant impact on individuals, which is why it is important to manage them effectively.

Consider changing a company’s performance management system. While this type of change might seem relatively straightforward, it needs to be facilitated with the utmost care and a thorough understanding of the impacts. Changing, for example, the metrics used to inform compensation, promotions, or succession planning need to be carefully facilitated and communicated to obtain employee buy-in to be useful and meaningful.

Myth 3: Change management is a one-time event.

Change Management is a continuous process. For change to stick and become ingrained, it needs to be sustained.

Real success is achieved when continuous improvement becomes business as usual. Through Change Management, a culture of continuous improvement can be promoted where employees champion change and continuously revisit additional improvements, the impacts of these and how to best integrate them in day-to-day activities.

Myth 4: Change Management is easy.

Change can cause fear or anxiety when individuals are asked to step out of their comfort zones. It also often requires incremental work; time to learn new ideas, build new skills or to adopt new approaches. This uneasiness can result in resistance or uncertainty about the change and its value. Developing a change management strategy and successfully facilitating individuals through change is most definitely not easy, but definitely do-able with a lot of planning, engagement and focused effort.

Find out more about this topic: Change Management Return on Investment. Click here to read more.

Myth 5: Change Management is not necessary if you have good leadership.

Leadership plays a decisive role in successful organisational change. The leadership team wields a great deal of influence over the members they lead which in turn could determine whether a change initiative is a success or failure.

While visible leadership rallying and support is essential for all change initiatives, a dedicated Change Management specialist or team is recommended to drive the change process and journey.

Leaders frequently underestimate the amount of work required for the change or overestimate the organisation’s capacity to make the change. Leadership can help to create a positive environment for change, but it cannot guarantee that everyone will accept and adopt the change.

While these are just some of the most common myths about Change Management, many more unfortunately exist.  If you’d like to find out more about Change Management or the world of projects, get in touch with the Afro Ant team.


Redefine Performance Management to Drive Impact (gartner.com)

Change becoming a continuous process (harmonisingchange.co.za)

Successful Change Management: 6 Surprising Reasons People Resist Change And How To Motivate Them To Embrace It Instead (forbes.com)

How Leaders Get in the Way of Organizational Change (hbr.org)