Change

One must understand the current context in which our Resistance to Change dialogue is occurring. The Kübler Ross model assumes a glide path to transition through the 5 stages of Denial Anger, Negotiation, Depression and Acceptance. Today’s Disruptive Change occurs at a speed that is both terrifying as it is efficient. And there is little or no glide path for anyone. We’ve all experienced the innocuous beginnings of the Uber service and how that has decimated the lives of the ‘Traditional’ taxi drivers. We’ve witnessed the virtually overnight wipe out of such services like ‘One Hour Photo,’ ‘Blockbuster,’ and revenue losses for the Music industry through  Streaming audio and video services.
We are poised to see similar inroads into traditional education Industry (consider the massive open on line courses or ‘MOOCS’ offered today). We will need to consider an entire new set of tools to deal with today’s Disruptive Change environment.

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We need to differentiate between what is  ongoing Organization Evolution, triggered by changes in the market environment, buyer needs and behaviours, changes in Technology and Organization growth.  The Organization structure and management system needs to be capable of addressing such evolutionary change (No Change Management or Transformation Initiative required here). It is when we are seeking to make a quantum leap in order to overcome a sudden, discontinuous reality (or technology disruption as an example) that a strategic disruptive change Initiative, Organization-wide, becomes the need of the hour – and perhaps, the optimum vehicle for success.

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Change is truly the breakfast of champions!
If you work out at a gym daily, and never change your regimen or routine, chances are your body will plateau as will your fitness level, muscular development, flexibility and stamina. This is due to a phenomenon known as homeostasis, first researched by a Canadian endocrinologist by the name of Hans Selye. The theory known as the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) came from his Selye’s research.
Basically the body adapts to a work-out routine and triggers the law of diminishing returns, unless the exercise routine is changed frequently.
So the moral of the story is…embrace change…even if it is painful at first.

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The meta decision before the decision to implement any change is to first of all decide whether or not the Organization is faced with a significant enough business eventuality that will not be addressed by anything other than an organization wide change effort. Change cannot be seen as a ‘flavour of the month’ activity that has a start and stop switch somewhere close to where management and leadership are located…a switch that is somehow never within reach of the people in the trenches, who are always the most  severely impacted by change.

Change must be perceived as a ‘life or death’ imperative…even if this is a ‘staged’ message. We folks in the trenches are a loyal, courageous and committed lot.
And as the great bard said…”Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.”

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For a contextual understanding of the subject of Resistance to Change, myth or otherwise, one needs to understand that change is typically:
1. Continuous change (imagine the routine path of a child growing in stages to a mature adult). This sort of change is easy to deal with because we have all gone through it and understand the nuances and ups and down of life, and have the skills to deal with them.
2. Discontinuous change: Imagine that the parents decide to divorce and the child is put into foster care because neither parent cares to take on the responsibility.
This sort of ‘Discontinuous’ change is what we struggle to deal with because we do not yet have the skills to cope with the change.
Hence our confusion and resistance when faced with changes that are discontinuous.

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