The Big Picture, the Emotions and the Actions in Change Management

Change management and a change in the ‘organisational culture’ are the one of the most common initiatives being adopted by organisations worldwide. They are expected to produce this ginormous boost in productivity through the magical transformation of the business.

How often do we see these initiatives producing meaningful impact or results that count? Our engineers at AVION have seen a lot of ‘change initiatives’ suffer and only a very few succeed. We observed that the ‘Big Picture Syndrome' is almost always the summary cause of this.

The leadership team meets once or twice a year. They conjure the Big Picture of where the business should be in next 10 years. A transformation initiative is then raised with a ‘vision’ of the Big Picture becoming reality. The budgets are then allocated and the initiative gets rolled out with much grandeur, only to be left struggling due to dwindling uptake from employees! What went wrong here? Surely, they should know how important it is for them to change. This situation is what we call a 'big picture syndrome'!

It results in wasted budgets and more importantly a tremendous loss of goodwill between employees and management.

We recommend to move away from this practice of facing the big picture and turning a back to the elements that make it happen.To put in simple terms, we should’t really try to deliver the big picture. It's the smaller elements of that big picture, that we need to nurture and develop. Organisations willing to bring about transformations need to pay attention to the small changes that they need to deliver and facilitate them to fit together. An effective, process and metric driven implementation of this activity would bring our big picture to life.

We observe that the role of emotions in absolutely critical in business transformations. Yet, we seldom see this aspect of 'emotion management' addressed adequately in the change management strategy. A change has to connect to people on an emotional level, it has to provide a 'now' and 'later' appeal to ordinary employees for them to associate with it and deliver it.  

Though the organisational leadership and management decide the strategic directions and dreams, these are often too big for individual contributors to associate with, for them to take action for it. This is where our model of change management fits in. The leadership needs to build that bridge that spans from the big picture to the routine work life of individual contributors, create a very personal, small and meaningful picture for a short term benefits of the smaller changes and then the individual contributors will not only see, but will also deliver.


B.Eng, MSc, CEng, MIMechE

Vijay is a Principal Systems Engineering Consultant. He is an expert systems integrator with wealth of experience in system architecture, requirements management, validation and verification. He has delivered complex and safety critical projects in the Aerospace and Railways industries. He has developed skills through extensive hands on work in manufacturing, design, analysis and test roles and really liked for his amicable personality and can do attitude.

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