Change Management and the Missing Ingredient

There are some highly effective strategies to navigate these challenging change waters. These strategy models may be complex, extravagant, or may involve an emergency-related incident.

Think about preparing your favorite meal. The lack of a simple ingredient or the use of the wrong ingredient makes a difference in the taste. One seemingly insignificant preparation mistake may leave you ordering takeout.

So, what is it people miss in managing change effectively?

It is called the “catchpoint.”  In my work delivering Communico’s Make A Great Impression on the Customer (MAGIC) program, the catchpoint is the “What and the Why” of any interaction between the employer and employee. 

In change management, the what refers to the actual change which will occur and the why is the explanation driving change as well as the how or reasoning behind the decision. Failure to address one or both, will truly compromise the effectiveness of the change event.

Let’s look at an example of a company that is switching payroll systems. This is an event which impacts every employee, company-wide.

The following email is sent to all employees announcing the change:

Without the catchpoint: “In 30 days, we are switching to a new payroll system for business reasons.  For those on direct deposit, submit a voided check to HR in the next two weeks in order to ensure your deposit.  We realize this is an inconvenience but one that is necessary.  Should you have any questions, please see your HR representative.”

With the catchpoint: “In 30 days, we are switching to a new payroll system. While this may initially be inconvenient, we wanted share why we are undertaking this change.  This new system will allow employees to:

  1. Access their paystubs
  2. Access W-2s
  3. Directly make changes to deposit information rather than having to go through HR allowing for better self service to our employees

For those on direct deposit, your next step to this new and improved system, is to submit a voided check to HR in the next two weeks to ensure a smooth transition.  Should you have any questions, please see your HR representative.”

In the first example, the what of the change is clear, but the why is not. This confusion may lead employees to think, “Why are they doing this? The old system was fine.” or “Here we go again, another corporate move. No one cares about the impact on us.”

In the second example, the catchpoint is outlined which may lead employees in a different direction, from an initial negative reaction, but a path to the positive. “I am not too thrilled about changing systems, but why we are doing it makes sense.” Or they may think “Here comes another corporate change, but at least this time, it looks like it may allow us to do things on our own more easily.”

That small missing ingredient – the catchpoint- directly impacts the ability to lead others to see the positive side of change, reduce employee anxiety, and increase engagement. For more information on change management and MAGIC, contact


  1. Rita Chandler on January 28, 2020 at 12:21 PM

    Good article, Gregg. It really does smooth transitions when folks can relate to the “why”. Just receiving the “what” can make effected people feel forced and resentful. Understand the “why” helps them get on board more quickly and move through the change process with much less anxiety. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Anonymous on February 1, 2020 at 7:52 PM

    Awesome post! Keep up the great work! 🙂

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