NQ13: CHANGE

By Jarrod Shappell

Wednesday, January 24th 2018

All of the devices listed in the advertisement above are currently in your pocket, purse, or on your desk. All of this technology has been consolidated into a 3 ounce bundle of metal, glass, and micro processors. And the store advertising them is hanging on by a thread. A lot has changed in 25 years. Most of us welcome this kind of change. Yet there are other changes we loathe. 

Because daily routines are standard fare to keep organizations running, people naturally struggle to deal with change. Any change a change of boss, of travel policy, of budget, or organizational structure – creates uncertainty about what lies ahead. Even the smallest of change can increase concerns about job security, increasing workloads, finances or the need to learn new skills.

It’s no wonder that we hear from our clients that “people hate change” and that “change is hard.” Whether we are executive leaders or junior employees, we seem psychologically unequipped to deal with changes in our workplaces.

We also hear from senior leaders that “the only constant is change.” Headlines today show that no industry or organization is safe from disruptive forces. We read of changes to global economic policies, the improving accuracy of artificial intelligence, the labor market's transition to "gig work," the increase in virtual workplaces, trying to predict what “Gen Z” will be like while we’re still decoding Millennials, consumer pressure to generate both profit and purpose, and a host of aforementioned technological disruptions.

This age of exponential, perpetual change, mixed with our psychological aversion to uncertainty, can make us feel like victims to change. Perhaps our interpretation that this is  something that’s happening to us is, at least in part, flawed. In reality, much of “this” is something we need to shape and respond to because much of it is change we are causing. As consumers, citizens, employees, technology junkies, and leaders, we are both provocateurs and recipients of sweeping change. The problem is that the pace of change is so rapid, businesses and leaders are often left flat footed. What many leaders and employees must see is that they play a key role in the success of change – whether forced from the outside or designed from the inside. While few would deny that much of the change brings substantial benefit and positive impact, the tumultuous journey through change is uncomfortable. 

With this in mind, we want to spend the next three months talking about how we can use the accelerated pace of change around us to our advantage. We will look at how we can move beyond “change is hard” to “change is necessary,” and dare we say, “change is good.” We will tell you how to avoid false starts and how to design implementable change. We will discuss not just how to change organizational structure, but how to attend to the feelings of those experiences the change. And perhaps most importantly, we will spend time understanding that all change that we want to see in others, must begin within ourselves. 


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