I wonder how you would rate yourself at managing change effectively? Even more interestingly, I wonder how your friends and relations would rate you if they had to consider your strategies for managing change.
The universe is change; our life is what
our thoughts make it.
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
We live in a constantly changing world. Nothing could be more certain than tomorrow will be different from today.
The universe constantly seeks to extend and perpetuate itself and it necessarily follows that some things, living or otherwise, will no longer serve that purpose and will therefore be changed by new and different life forms and inventions.
I sincerely hope you are not like my friend Dick, a shopkeeper, who turns his face blindly to all forms of change.
Dick has a till in his shop that doesn’t function properly. You can press a button which will open a tray to take the money, but it is not an electronic till; it does not print receipts or recognise stock items.
There is no stock control in Dick’s shop. He will not embrace modern technology. When a customer asks for an item in his store he looks for it.
It could be in any one of a number of places. If he cannot find it, he assumes he has run out and orders another.
But he can do that only if he finds it in his outdated paper catalogue.
He has not even bothered to learn the basics of a computer and has no intention of doing so.
He cannot therefore go on line and check whether the item is readily available.
Whenever any form of change is contemplated, Dick resists.
He does not understand why life cannot go on the way it always has in his lifetime, and he becomes quite angry when new things are suggested.
What Dick fails to understand is that although he may resist, although he may dig his toes in and protest and moan and insist on standing still, the world will still move on at its own pace and he will be left behind.
All the while his customers are dwindling because Dick can no longer produce the service that they require.
If we had to rely on Dick for progress, we would all be rubbing sticks together to make a fire!
Sadly, there are many people like Dick. His inaction is really born out of fear and suspicion: fear that he will be unable to cope; suspicion that others may be offering a better service than he is.
Once you think about it, it doesn’t take long to realise that even if you don’t embrace change, change will still happen.
When I left school at 15 I was for a while an office boy in an engineering factory.
I had no skills and it was suggested that I learn to type.
So off I went, a lone boy in a class of girls, to learn to touch type on a manual typewriter.
It really wasn’t long before I was typing proficiently, and a couple of years later I won a regional typewriting competition.
There is nothing particularly remarkable in that, but I use the example to show that certain skills may be transferable or adaptable. Later came electronic typewriters and then computers.
Although my keyboard skills were useful in my early life they are now indispensable.
I am sitting here inputting this article at considerable speed while those few friends of mine who are able to use a computer, play about trying to find the keys with one or two fingers.
They say things like “Well, it is all right for you, you know how to type” as if it were a skill I was born with.
There is nothing to prevent any of them from learning to input on a keyboard if they could just be bothered.
Today there are more opportunities to learn than ever before. Just go on line and search.
You can sit in your own home and learn almost anything and keep ahead of the game, and thoroughly enjoy yourself at the same time.
Paradoxically, those who refuse to embrace change are not usually found sitting alongside an old radio set in the evenings or in a darkened room with nothing to do.
You will find them seated in front of a television set, often for many hours, allowing their minds to vegetate.
You see, there is often a laziness to face the prospect of change rather than the change itself.
Among strategies for managing change, the crucial factor in my view is the way you respond to the idea of change. Remember always that your attitude is every bit as important as the change itself.
You have the ability to influence and control what happens to you. You have a brain of your own and it is as good as anybody else’s.
How you react to change will be determined by the way you think and feel.
If you believe you control and direct your own life, that you are captain of your ship, it is likely that you will adapt to almost any change and do so confidently.
You are more likely to be generally happy, eat a good diet, like yourself, know what you want, like tackling new challenges, plan ahead and generally enjoy what you do.
On the other hand, if you think that your life is governed by some outside force or set of circumstances and that you are a victim of your history, you may well need to re-evaluate your situation pretty soon.
If you fall into this category it may well be that you feel trapped, find it difficult to cope if your plans are disrupted, get the feeling that life is often not fair to you, feel helpless and unable to learn new things, feel broke or let down and don’t know how to face getting old.
It may not be that all of those things in either category apply to you, but if more do than don’t, it is time to take action.
Whether you are managing change in organisations, managing change in the workplace or generally managing organisational change or personal change, you will cope most effectively if you do the following:
Firstly, embrace change as the natural way of the world
Constantly seek to improve your existing skills and learn new ones
Know that without experimentation and new methods, the universe will stagnate and die rather than move on
Be determined to play your part as an integral component of the universe rather than as a disinterested bystander
If you are fearful of the future and are not confident about managing change, search this website for articles that will help you.
They are all completely free and chances are that you will find something to set you on the right road again.
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