Will Lukang, CLDC, CSM, PMP
Humans in many ways are creatures of habit. After doing something for a while, we become comfortable and are set in our ways. Status quo becomes the norm and we would rather go through the motions. The notion of things being changed is something we dread happening to us.
As much as we want to stay the same, everything will change around us, like weather, seasons, and aging to name a few. The fact of the matter is that there are three things in life that are guaranteed, namely: death, taxes and change. At some point we will age and die, hence death is guaranteed to happen at some point in our lifetime. If we work, we have to pay taxes. Of course we can choose not to pay taxes, but the consequence means being jailed for failure to pay taxes, hence not an appealing scenario. Lastly, change will happen whether you like it or not. Either you initiate change, embrace change, or it will happen to you with or without your approval.
When it comes to change, some people are up in arms as soon as they find out that change is happening around them. They believe it is a waste of time. As some people would say, “It is working, why change?” Others would say, “Don’t fix it if it is not broken.” However the fact of the matter is, you cannot use the technology of the past and do business today. It would work, but it is rather inefficient. As time goes on, there are new ways of doing things. New tools or methods that can make things better by being effective and efficient.
So, how do we react to change?
- First, learn what the change is all about – the reason for change and genesis of effecting a change. Everything happens for a reason, whether we agree or not. But change often is not initiated just for the sake of changing. There is always a purpose and reason for it.
- Secondly, ask yourself the following questions: What does it meant to you? What does it mean to your organization? This question is important because you need to know the value of the proposition and how it affects you and the organization. In essence it is the understanding of what is in it for you (WIIFY). Will you be learning something new? Will it help you enhance your skills? What value does it bring?
- Lastly, decide if you agree with the change and its reason. If you agree with the change, you need to learn what is it you can do to help facilitate the change. If you don’t agree with the change, you need to decide on your next step. It could mean moving on or looking for other opportunities.
From my personal perspective, I’d rather help facilitate the change or be part of the group that initiates change. Otherwise, change will be imposed on us, and at that point we would have little or no influence in the way it is implemented. One of my favorite quotes by Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Adapting to change is the key to our success. If we don’t change, it will happen to us and we will not like the outcome. It is best to understand and learn how we can help effect the change. Some people believe that they can outlast a change. Meaning all they need to do is hang in there and eventually it will blow over like a wind. By doing so, you will not learn anything.
As Dennis O’Grady in “Bottom Line” used to say, “Change has a bad reputation in our society. But it isn’t all bad — not by any means. In fact, change is necessary in life — to keep us moving … to keep us growing … to keep us interested . … Imagine life without change. It would be static … boring … dull.” The fact of life is we cannot do nothing and expect things to get better. We need to change and evolve and improve. Progress is only possible if we change.
The next time change is happening around you, follow the three steps of how to react to change and please share the outcome. I would like to learn from your experience.
Appropriate considering what is going on these days…good luck in the new role!