Adapting OCM for an Increasingly Digital World: The Solution

Steve MacGill and Alan Walker

· Transformation,Change Management

Part 2 of a conversation with Steve MacGill and Alan Walker on OCM and the Digital World

In [Part 1] we argued that OCM must simultaneously:

  • Support the process humans go through in adapting to change, and
  • Accelerate their adoption of change to keep up with the increasing speed of Digital transformation

To achieve this, we see five very human challenges to be overcome:

1) Desire to retain control

2) Need for credible leadership

3) Preference to learn by doing

4) Wish to understand the bigger picture

5) Aspiration to be part of something that matters

In the rest of Part 2, we’ll offer our perspective on how each of the first two challenges are typically dealt with today – and suggestions on how these approaches need to change in a faster-moving world.

1) Desire to retain control

Challenge: Humans need control. Or as much control as they can get. Even if the future is not to their benefit they want to know as much about it as they can at the time. Expectations are critical to moving forward.



  • Communication occurs mostly on a project basis and after most of the changes have already been defined.


  • Communication occurs at a strategic level. This forms a framework for employees to more rapidly comprehend all other initiative-based communication.
  • Leaders communicate constantly about the future in terms of how roles, behaviors, skills, systems, and culture are likely to change.
  • Leaders and managers communicate what they know at the time and also when they expect to know more.

2) Need for Credible Leadership

Challenge: Employees want to hear information from a source they consider credible. Someone they trust. Someone who is trained and responsible for managing change, but not always someone who has all of the answers.



  • Leaders and managers often do not see managing change as being a part of their responsibility.
  • Leaders and managers are seldom trained on the specific responsibilities and tools they have for driving change.
  • Leaders and managers are often unclear on what specifically their role in leading change entails.  


  • Leaders and managers are not afraid to say “I don’t know all the answers yet - but here is what I do know and when I’ll know more”. This enables them to talk about the strategic issues in advance of the tactics.
  • Leaders and managers understand that setting expectations around the future is their responsibility.
  • Leaders and managers understand that behaviors will change in the future and that assuring this change is one of their most significant responsibilities.

For our perspectives on the remaining three challenges, please see [Part 3].

Originally published June 28, 2018.