Change – The Inevitable: Pathway to Success or Destruction?

Change – To alter; to make different; to cause to pass from one state / phase to another.change1

Change is something very essential.  Everybody should anticipate it as it’s a means to balance life. However, too frequent changes can also be a sign of being unstable. It indicates the inability to make a fixed plan and put it into action, hence the numerous revisions.

Do you know of anybody who wakes up one morning who is happy and ecstatic if they face unknown changes with a single snap of the finger? These are changes that can eventually affect how they perform on their own; how they fare in a group; and how they function in the society. Before they can even reap benefit from that, the recently changed thing is about to change again. If that’s the case, then how can some people appreciate changes?

As Mark Sanborn said “Your success in life isn’t based on your ability to simply change. It is based on your ability to change faster than your competition, customers and business.” Now this statement is very calculating but true. However, the people who plan and implement these changes have already taken calculated risks. An organization can never be called successful if half of the manpower is actually planning to leave. Something is definitely wrong no matter where you look at it.change4

Some managers appear to be so bored of thinking that they do not think out of the box. Is it the process, is it the information, is it workforce, or is it actually how they lead the organization that makes people unwilling to perform and refuse to belong? It’s a general mantra that happy people in an organization produce better output than people who are unhappy. How many times have you rubbed your elbows with your supervisor, your manager, and your senior managers? Do you even know them and how they look like? Was it the old lady who smiled at you inside the elevator today or you just don’t know?

If you were to ask a lot of successful managers, they hold on to good and old staff and make sure they remain good, and risk on banking on the newbie as soon as they are better. Loosing good people during times of incapacity further encourage negative feelings. Nobody can stand the constant feeling of being removed, feeling of being unrecognized and the feeling of instability.

Most often, management hesitate to ask the people involved – no matter how small a group is – if composed of thoughtful, concerned staff- their ideas may actually help change the world they live in. As much as change is something difficult for most people, both the pros and cons of what they are giving up should be carefully evaluated.

The person who must lead the change process would have to be carefully selected, not just appointed at random. He or she must have the heart to see it through and make sure to take the lead with a possible group of hesitant, afraid and not so enthusiastic confused members who doesn’t have any idea where they are headed. Indeed the task will be very difficult as there will be a lot of uncertainty involved. But with the correct combination of careful strategies and ensuring that the plans are carefully placed into action plus seeking the cooperation of the main characters in the story, it should most likely succeed.

Indeed, whatever it is that needs change must be started by us. We can’t wait for time to transform a company into an emerging leader in the world of business.

Embracing the changes also means to give it a chance to take effect and get the positive results that we hope for. We don’t get results overnight. The Dunes of Egypt didn’t automatically change into Pyramids when the Pharaohs woke up.  They ensured success through careful analysis, planning and timescales of their resources.

changes6Have you heard about the story of the phoenix? It’s an exemplary sample of change. The phoenix is a mythical bird that is a fire spirit with a colorful plumage and a tail of gold and scarlet (or purple, blue, and green according to some legends). It has a 500 to 1000 year life-cycle, near the end of which it builds itself a nest of twigs that then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix or phoenix egg arises, reborn anew to live again.

The new phoenix is destined to live as long as its old self.  It means sacrifices are made at times, risking loss and hoping for something good to come out of it. This theory sounds very correct. Why? With the phoenix alleged life cycle, 500-1000 years, a pattern has already been established. This is a pattern which is known to have worked.

Will it also work for a company of not more than 3 years? Hopefully yes but maybe not. We lack the patience and the luxury of time. Hence a company may suddenly terminate 20 people and hope for drastic changes. Will this action plan really work? I don’t really know. That means lesser number of people to count on. The learning curve for new hires may take longer, and the possibility of creating further chaos within the workplace.

Man is known to be resilient. For several thousands of years we were like chameleons, adapting to change with perfection. But these changes took eons to happen, it took a lot of sacrifice and blood to ensure that the world we live in is a much better place.

One of the best examples of change that manifested to success is the presidency of President Barack Obama – a look at how people learned to accept others no matter what their color and creed is. Something that did not happen overnight.

By carefully administering any kind of change in an organization, this does not mean that we are cajoling a dysfunctional system. But if we are not careful in doing so, people may end up defending what they have no matter what it cost them because it is the course of nature – for man to protect their inner habitat – their comfort zone.

Now this is highly interesting when the idea of the “learning organization” has been introduced a decade ago, it was deduced that big companies succeed because they have started acting like gardeners; they maintained and nurtured their gardens instead of acting like some mechanical robots. One other big mistake is when managers think everything should be totally replaced and success happens. Wrong. We work with what we got and ensure success by tapping on hidden and innate resources.

Something to Ponder on:

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.” — Abraham Lincoln   December 1, 1862 in Message in Congress

Now take your cue.