Change is a possibility only when we consider it as an opportunity.
It was just the other day, when I had to take an early morning flight, I found myself caught in a traffic jam (early morning!) for a huge trailer had nosedived right on the middle of the road. I just could not afford to miss the flight. Oh god, this cannot happen to me! Throwing hands up in the air in despair and denial, I got off the cab and started arguing with the lone ranger in a policeman, who was already at his wits end to pacify the crowd. We were resisting each and every one of us in finding a solution while the cab’s meter was running its delightful derby. By the time sensibility prevailed, the crowd had started melting in exploring a way out and I found myself looking for another means instead of wasting any further time.
One enterprising but not exactly a good Samaritan was offering a ride to the airport at an exorbitant cost but I found myself disregarding the cost and settling down for the fancy ride in renewing my objective to reach the airport as I just could not afford to miss the flight. Reached the airport well in time and settled down steadily with the stability that followed. This incidence taught me the cycle of change which begins with Denial goes onto Resistance that follows before Exploration creeps in with Renewal and ultimately settles down at Stability.
We are naturally conditioned to remain in the comfort zone right from our mother’s womb and thus detest the very idea of a change which is more often than not considered to be threat to the comfort. Ask someone to draw a spider in its cobweb and you will be surprised that 7 out of 10 people will draw the spider in the middle of the cobweb and nowhere else. We are not only endowed with but naturally conditioned to seek and retain our comfort areas much like the ‘ghettos’ that we create for ourselves; be at the personal space or in the professional space.
The word ‘Change’ is an aberration of its intent for we tend to construe it, especially when it is about our workplace in its silhouette which spells harm, deprivation, decline and discriminatory. Try using the word ‘change’ at your work place and the very spontaneous reaction is ‘Why’?
Managing change looks not only a Herculean task in itself but comes up with a caveat which reins in participation to the change. Why does it happen? The three pillars of a structured approach to Managing Change focus essentially on people, process and performance which very often relegate the most critical function of managing change wrt ‘People’ to a secondary function. The growth trajectory of a business and the scalability that moves along side is considered critical for the myopic Leaders and the equally deplorable robotic managers for whom sustenance of the business and the scalability thereby, is an indicator of personal sense of accomplishment which in the long run threatens the pillars of process and performance for which the imminent ‘change’ that got featured in yet another annual balance sheet of the organisation.
Do we need ‘change’ or are we asking for a ‘change’? The leadership is sincerely required to ask and answer this question themselves before weaving an intricate web of deceit and terming it as ‘change management’. The organisational values and the principles which hitherto remained an intrinsic architecture of deciding the course on which the ship will sail, gets questioned without any clarity being passed onto many a raised eyebrows in the organisation and thus, breeding an unqualified ground of denial and resistance. The most critical tool of a seamless Change Management lies in the ‘communication design and delivery’ that has to essentially address three poignant questions, as far as the PEOPLE aspect of Change Management is concerned.
Why is the change obvious and necessary?
How will it affect you?
What is in it for you?
There is an endless list of progressive organisations across sectors and geography that have credibly prioritised and taken their People into confidence before spelling out the obvious changes in the Process and Performance. The benefit of addressing people issue lies in cutting down the Change management cycle by half. Once addressed, people get geared in exploring their role and contribution to the change by renewing their commitment to the organisational cause in ensuring stability.
The fear and apprehension that is associated with ignoring the People aspect or postponing it, harbours in the incapability of the Organisational leadership to anticipate and offer solutions to the people centric aspect, as a fall-out of the proposed change.
‘Change Management’ is an incredible testimony of Organisational commitment to its stakeholders that requires the organisation to think, create and drive Empowerment of its own people through an immaculate communication design and delivery. Process and performance will follow suit; for some of us might get stranded on our way to the airport to catch the early morning flight when it actually will make sense to avail “not-so-good-Samaritan’s” offer albeit at a higher price for ‘catching the flight’ is what matters the most at that point in time.