We all are in the change management business.
Did you know that about 500,000 jobs exist in the “change management” field? Titles like, “Culture Change Manager…Change Management Analyst…Change Management Lead…Change Management Specialist….”
As I prepare for two corporate programs—one in Las Vegas and one here in Florida—that scrutinize the topic of “change management,” two questions guide my thinking.
- Haven’t we been managing change at one level or another for a long time? After all, Heraclitus offered more than two centuries ago, “Change is the only constant in life.”
- Since change is not new, then what is new about it in the current context and—why should we care?
We could make an argument that to every generation the change it faces is monumental, huge, and precedent busting. No one has ever faced anything like it before or will again. Or, at least so they think in the moment—their moment.
Maybe the change involved technology (assembly line), government (the Constitutional Convention), women’s rights (suffrage amendment), equal access (Brown v. Board of Education), aviation (the Wright Brothers) or education (Title IX). You can name many more.
One measure used by economic historians to measure the rate of change looks at how long it takes 50% of the households to adopt the change. By that standard, it took electricity and TV about twenty-eight years. Radio, television, and the Internet, less than a decade.
Again, Heraclitus told us that, “Everything changes and nothing stands still.”
Bottom line, we all are in the change management business. Whether we hold responsibility for workplace productivity, renovating our home, or handling a healthcare crisis, change faces us. If we think that we will drown in change, know that we have been through it before and will confront it again.
Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself.
― Leo Tolstoy—
The first thing to do is consider what change we need to consider. The CEO may look at change as it relates to technology, rapidity, different generational attitudes, uncertainty, institutional culture, and/or sustainability.
I would suggest, at the least, we need to understand the professional and personal perspective from which to address change. When we talk about change, what do we expect those we lead and ourselves to do? Consider this short list as you move forward with change management in your life. What do you want to do as it relates to change? Do you want to
- Accept it?
- Anticipate it?
- Cause it?
- Control it?
- Follow it?
- Ignore/resist it?
- Slow/speed it?
- Understand it?
- Question it?
- Do something else?
Some choices move us forward. Others, not.
“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
― George Bernard Shaw
Video recommendation for the week:
Change will happen. So, what do you do with the change resistors? Click here for one strategy.
Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.
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