Thursday, September 9, 2010

Change Part Seven

Before I continue on to talk about the human side of the change equation, I thought it might be useful (at least for myself) to review, or at least highlight what I have written so far.

"People want connection and growth and something new. They want change." - Seth Godin, Tribes (p.2)

But, maybe it’s not about change at all. After all Solomon wrote, "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 1:9 - NIV)

No matter what you do - change or not change - you are going to run into challenges. If you change, the resisters will either: a) stay and fight it, b) stay and sulk, or c) leave. If you don't change the changers will either: a) stay and fight it, b) stay and sulk, or c) leave.

I have come to a two part conclusion. The first part is that there is more than one right way to implement and manage change and secondly that there is exponentially more than one wrong way to implement and manage change.

If people don't buy-in, they will buy-out, either by leaving, revolting or sulking. None of those are healthy reactions and it won't matter how appropriate the change was, if people aren't on board, the change will fail.

There is no change no matter how valid or noble that someone doesn't resist.

The status quo is often preferred over the risk of change.

So, "Why change?"

Well, some change is easy, or at least easier. If the change involves something really good - a change for the better - then it is not as difficult.

Other types of change is made easier, or at least with less resistance, because there is absolutely no choice in the matter.

Still other types of change are fairly easy to take, because the impact is very slight, or the results are neutral.

Finally, some changes are easy to take, because they are self initiated. We like the changes that we are in control of.

I think the hardest change is the change that doesn't have an apparent reason. The change that doesn't have buy-in, because those most affected by the change don't see or understand the reason for the change.

Maybe, the issue is not the change, but our human weakness. After all, change is about people, not things. Things don't care. Systems don't have feelings. Objects are inanimate. Are we managing the wrong side of the equation? Maybe the problem with change is not the change, but ourselves? And if so, how do we address it?

Okay, now on to the human side . . . next post.

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