v) Change Is Situational & Contextual

Remember: change is situational and contextual. In other words, every situation is different and distinctive. What works with one group/community/organisation/situation, etc will not guarantee success with another. Need to know and understand the group, especially its culture, as no two are the same; need to evaluate that culture's receptiveness to change. This will allow the most appropriate techniques to be chosen to maximise leverage of the existing culture for adaptive change.

. Ideally cultural change should come from the bottom up; with senior executives being visibly involved

. In communicating the change, use every format of persuasion available, eg written word, pictures, symbols, graphs, diagrams, stories, talking, etc

. The need for tactful but brutally honest communications/conversations

. Be a good listener

. Manage tight/loose ‐ tight in terms of core values but loose in the freedom for the executive on how they get there, ie implementation

. Encourage coaching

. Recruit and select the 'right' people. As it is difficult to change someone's attitude, it is best to hire for attitude and once employed to train for skills.

. Management needs to realize and remember

"...the best decisions are made by those closest to the action..."

Nicholas Moore as quoted by Narelle Hooper, 2008b

. Keep things simple!!!!!!!

. Change is a balancing act, ie short-term vs. long-term needs, current financial performance vs. change agenda, etc

. Be confident but never over-confident as the latter appears to weaken our ability to hear what we need to hear and this increases the chance of making fewer correct decisions.

. Insist on fun ‐ fun is a powerful tool for change.

. Formality has its place when it simplifies things, ie it lets people know what's going on and what to do. At the same time, formality can slow things down, make people feel miserable and stifle communications!!!!!

. Most change involves changing minds. Thus the longer the change process goes on, the more chance of successful consolidation, ie

"...It is helpful to bear in mind that most mind change is gradual, occurring over significant periods of time; that awareness of the mind change is often fleeting, and the mind change may occur prior to consciousness thereof; that individuals have a pronounced tendency to slip back to earlier ways of thinking; but that when a mind change has truly consolidated, it is likely to become as entrenched as its predecessor..."

Howard Gardner, 2006

. Focus on the important areas that you have some influence on.

. In any change process it is important to keep an open mind and evaluate challenging ideas on their merit. Be prepared to be challenged by outside influences, especially by what is going on elsewhere. Furthermore,

"...only a fool never changes his mind......don't bring me your problems - bring me the solutions..."

Freddie Laker as quoted by Richard Branson, 2008

. Be willing to expand your comfort zone by being an opportunist, seeking a new knowledge, expanding your network, allowing yourself to be challenged, etc. Seek as much as possible diverse, challenging experiences, etc

"...Do not reject any form of knowledge! Do not place arbitrary limits on what may be useful. Be an opportunist ‐ soak up knowledge whenever and wherever possible. All ideas are potentially valuable, not only for practical self-defence and survival, but also as a source of metaphor, creative inspiration, and relationship building. As your knowledge base grows, so will your network of relationships. Above all, seek versatility. Learn to play multiple roles. Become a student of many disciplines. A broad base of knowledge is a no-win proposition.

Be a xenophile: embrace the different and the unusual as a matter of course. When poised on the cusp of decisions, go toward your fear, anxiety, and incompetence. Seek new experiences for their own sake and intentionally expose oneself to novelty.

Expand your linguistic comfort zone by learning new words. Expand your psychological comfort zone by exposing yourself to new ideas. Meet new people; learn new rituals and myths. Move your body in new ways.

It will help you if your training is specific to the challenges you are likely to face, but expanding your comfort zone in any dimension is valuable because it makes you familiar with novelty and the process of adaptation. Any new experience will enhance your performance and survivability.

The process is invariably threatening and intimidating. Leaving the security of our physical, social, and psychological nest requires that we face risk, uncertainty, and ambiguity. Nevertheless, the effort is crucial. The human comfort zone follows the familiar "use it or lose it" principle. If you don't challenge the limits from time to time, your comfort zone will actually begin to shrink..."

Frank Rivers, 1997


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