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Saturday, 4 September 2010

Change? Change? What's All This About Change?

"The only constant in the business is change" has become both a mantra and a cliche for many leaders and the achievement of change has become, in many cases, almost a holy grail.

A little thought on the concept of change in a business and indeed, how a business runs dynamically, brings one to the inevitable conclusion that there is no such thing as the "status quo".

The only way in which a business could be run without any change whatsoever (the status quo) is by a computer programmed to operate an inviolable system.  To put real people into any system automatically ensures that change, of some sort, will happen.

Conventional wisdom says that if people are in comfort zone, which seems to imply, with the minimum of significant change in their lives, and some action is taken to alter the system, the process, the management, the working conditions or anything which impinges on the individual psyche, then the first automatic reaction is generally denial and/or denigration.

This usually takes the form of "it won't work", "we tried it before and it was a disaster", "They don't realise what it means to us" and similar negative messages.

After some time to let the change take effect, the normal reaction tends to develop into a level of organised chaos and confusion until the whole system has settled down.  This period is also, more often than not, more positive with people trying to make the new system work.

The next phase is the aforesaid holy grail, that of renewal and regeneration when the system and the people are in harmony and are achieving the objectives of the change.

Of course, this being an iterative process, the next phase is back into comfort and complacency until once again change is imposed.

What does all of this imply for the leader?   If we accept that there is no such thing as the status quo and change is both constant and inevitable, then the acceptance of a system which is innovative and dynamic is far easier to achieve.

Yes, there are different levels of change; some change is dramatic and life changing, some is inevitable, some is radical or reactionary and some creeps up on us almost unnoticed.

Whichever it is, it can be for good or for evil and it is up to us all to make it work positively whenever possible.  How many Jewish mothers does it take to change a light bulb?  None - she says "You're too busy, don't worry about me, darling, I like sitting in the dark".

Have a great week!

For further information, visit www.vistage.co.uk and www.vistageblog.co.uk
To contact us, email to ivan.goldberg@vistage.co.uk

1 comment:

Steve Gilroy said...

Sound words Ivan.Change is certainly challening, both for those triggering the change, and those receiving or implementing the change. As you say, it's up to us to turn change into a positive experience. To quote Winston Churchill - "to improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often".
Steve Gilroy