Cheese, Change and Communication

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Change can happen either to the individual or by the individual.

Both can be positive or both can be negative. What is most important is the attitude that people have toward change. When it comes, change can either be embraced or rejected. The reality is that embracing change is the better alternative.

Either way, change is going to come, and rejecting it will only hurt those persons that reject the inevitable. In the end, if one wants to survive, new fresh cheese needs to be located. It is even better if a person has a good idea where that cheese is located in advance of needing to use it. This could be akin to managing the future in anticipation of change.

In facing change, you need to devise a plan, take immediate action and enjoy the results of your endeavours. Visualise what is wrong and make the necessary changes. Dr. Johnson (1709-1784) has the following suggestions regarding change: change will happen, it always has and it always will, envision change, adapt to change, relish change.

When organisations derive the goals that they need, planners seldom solicit widespread input, consensus or confirmation from those stakeholders that could be seriously affected by new strategies.

All planning exhibits a bias toward a particular type of change in organizations. This is not a quantum change with which procedures have trouble coping, but incremental changes.

Mitzberg and McHugh, 1985

Designing, creating and making changes is often a difficult process for organisations.

This process is one of the most difficult, troubling and perplexing obstacles that a business encounters.

Fry, Stoner and Weinzimmer, 1999

The genesis of difficulties stems generally from two basic facts: If the business does not change, it will encounter survival problems. The change process usually has resistance from those wishing to maintain the status quo. To many members of an organisation, status quo represents stability and consistency. These are mental models representing security and structure for the stakeholders of the organisation.

Some people resist change because of assumptions of the change’s potential failure, fear of their inability to adapt to the change and other unfounded assumptions generated by a lack of understanding or information regarding the planned changes.

The third reason points to a communication breakdown between those designing the changes and the other stakeholders. This breakdown is often manifested during a change process. During a change process period, myriad people have one question regarding the changes or the new strategies. This question is “What is in it for me?”

To overcome resistance to changes requires that organisations create and foster an environment and culture that embraces change, and that a shared vision exists that expects and encourages the values and progress that is brought by new strategies. This occurs when a mutual trust has been established between the organisation and its stakeholders.

Often planners do not receive or expect a consensus from all stakeholders.

In reality, it is common for planners to shift reconciliation of differences or opinions regarding changes and its implementation to line managers. The planners assume that sufficient trade-offs will be made to achieve a general acceptance and implementation of new strategies.

Someone once said that we will usually accept what we understand and reject the unfamiliar. This holds true when organisations attempt to implement a new or modified strategy.

Communications become a major issue. The lack of communication or inadequate communication will doom many worthwhile emerging strategies.

The buy-in of the new strategies will be better accepted by all members of an organisation when the members participate in the planning by contributing their expertise to the emerging strategies.

Effective leadership is crucial to the success of group processes. The capable leader is a good listener and establishes an atmosphere of cooperation and participation. The leader’s tasks are to facilitate and encourage participation.

Witken and Altschuld, 1995

To make widespread input effective, contributors must believe that they are free to express their opinions, and that these opinions will be considered. Effective participation involves universal good listening.

Several books have been written on collaborative efforts when discussing needs assessments and developing and implementing strategies. Contributions result in buy-ins from the participants. It behoves the people involved in designing new strategies to solicit and utilise all the resources at their disposal during the conception, development and implementation phases of this important process.

As a reminder, even in a successful person’s life, there are times when there will be a lull in achievements. If you want to experience future success, you must continue to perfect your skills during these down times with the understanding that an opportunity will arrive and you need to be ready for it.

One needs to prepare for tomorrow today. It is critical to appreciate that success is not always on your time frame. People who realise success prepare for opportunities – not for a specific time. Never call an ineffective effort with a well-planned-out strategy or approach a failure, since the lessons garnered will eventually bring you to your desired destination.

If you can easily walkaway or give-up on what is seen as important, it was never truly important to you. People who continually succeed appreciate that luck happens for people who are preparing to take control of a forthcoming opportunity.

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