Let’s face it, the world around us is constantly changing. It might be a new cafe down the road, people having kids, or moving jobs. Every day, we’re (despite our best efforts) getting older, change happens. This gives us a couple of choices in our working life, either resist change, or go with it. Not all change will be good, not all change will be bad, but what is the decision maker in accepting change?
Daily I turn up to work and design and implement systems, some better than others, and all to solve a problem. Whether some problems are actually worth solving is a question for another day! Increasingly as systems improve (accepting that improvement is completely subjective) it highlights how some people are adverse to change, and some embrace something new. A certain amount of resistance is healthy, I’ve found through development it’s important to understand the whole (or at least the majority) of the picture before putting something new in place. Why the majority? In a lot of cases, doing something is better than doing nothing. To be seen to be doing something is important in the change process, even if overall this is ineffectual to the system change itself. You can design a whole system, but if the stakeholders don’t feel ownership of the system, it won’t be accepted.
Back to basics, why is it important to accept change? This is an easy one, if nobody accepted change we wouldn’t have cars, phones or anything new. If we stopped changing in 1940, it might as well still be 1940!
Why should we challenge change? Every idea needs testing, if we accept every change a lot of the time we’ll be accepting nonsense, or an unfinished product. Challenging change sifts out the rubbish, and makes the end product of a given system better.
With change you need to be in a position to critically analyse what is happening. Prepare to be devils advocate, and accept change for the ‘greater good’. If workers work at the same rate, and no new technology is introduced, competitors will overtake that company. When competitors overtake, your business makes less sales, and makes less money. Suddenly the change resistant workers can’t have the pay rise their friends in the competitors business are getting, as their company isn’t making money. “But this is the way we’ve always done it” works for a certain amount of time, then guess what? Change.
An important part of change is to understand what is going on around you, and accept that changes to your role are for the ‘greater good’, if not, challenge them. It’s the job of the change managers to make sure people understand this ‘greater good’, and why they should change. We all change to benefit ourselves, and this should be the case even if the benefits are indirect. At its most basic a benefit is still having a job, then moving onto other more tangible benefits such as wage increases.