Does Anyone Really Like Change?
I heard a wise saying years ago that my colleagues have heard me say over and over again, "the only change people like comes from a vending machine." I cannot recall who shared these words of wisdom with me, but I am hopeful that you will pass them along whenever you embark upon systemic change in your organization. Be mindful of the wisdom contained therein. Change is powerful. Change is wanted by most. Change is feared. Change causes both opportunities and challenges. Change is hard.
I have been involved with organizational leadership in one form or another since I served as a JROTC Cadet Officer back in high school. When I was a young teenager I became addicted to organizational leadership, organizational development, and that dreaded awe-spiring "C" word, change. It did not take me too long to understand that in order to improve an organization, you needed to be willing to make changes to the organization. Just like a good Boy Scout, I was driven at a young age to ensure the organization I led was left better than I found it. This meant that I was driven to make changes to either incrementally improve the organization or to make more significant changes as may have been required from time to time.
What I learned as I progressed through my professional career is that I was a "change agent." I think that is just a fancy way of saying someone that was driven to make changes within and to an organization when they needed to be made rather than what I refer to as a "maintainer." A professional leader that inherits an organization and maintains the current status quo while they serve in that office. I have followed "maintainers" throughout my career and have even been followed by "maintainers." This may be the organization's natural way of stabilizing itself until additional change is warranted. That is a future blog idea.
Change in itself is neither good nor bad it is how the organization and members therein respond to it. Some will love it and exclaim, "It is about time!" Others will be sternly opposed to the change. I found it fascinating when you discuss change with a group and they endorse the concept until they realize that the change is going to effect them. Once that epiphany occurs they no longer desire the change and begin to strongly oppose it. Change is fickle.
I love hearing how leaders describe how they manage change. I appreciate how they describe the importance of educating the community it is going to impact. Describe the benefit. Be transparent about the process. All good answers. What they leave out is that change takes courage. Courage to make the decisions and implement the change that you know some will not like and in some instances, you may not even like the change, but in the long run the change is in the best interest of the organization as a whole.
Change may not be liked by all, but one thing is for sure. Without change this laptop I am writing on would not be here and the website you are viewing this blog on would not exist. Heck, I grew up when the only phones you had were in your house or on the street corners. I am glad to be a servant of change and I am glad that there are others like me that are driven to improve what they inherit.
Stay blessed and keep shining!