Change The Only Constant
The global COVID pandemic has certainly introduced immediate and life changing habits for all of us. Who would have thought that so many job roles could suddenly be done from a home office? I was programme manager for a large-scale programme at a financial institution in South Africa when lock down happened for the first time. If you had asked me if I could effectively perform this role from home before March 2020, I would have said emphatically no. How wrong I would have been.
Much of the change management literature I have been exposed to talks about how most people (+-80%) of the world’s population are resistant to change. Resistant meaning most of us like being in our comfort zones. We like certainty and predictability and a sense of control. There are some people – the other 20% of the world’s population who love change and are always seeking out the new products, services and experiences that become available. These people seem to charge into new experiences without considering the risks or consequences. The key issue here is that whether we are resistant and more cautious or experimental and seek out change there are pros and cons to both preferences.
After working with managing large scale projects and hence managing change for the last 25 years my observation is that most people are more adaptive than we give them credit for. My other observation is that if change is lead in a way that promotes inclusion, that values the wisdom of the effected people, that is collaborative in solution building and allows for some flexibility in implementing the solution then whatever we are changing into a new reality will likely succeed. The practice of inclusivity, garnering the wisdom of the effected community, collaboration solution building and flexible implementation also builds change resilience in the project team and effected parties. We are always better together.
“If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far; go together.” African Proverb