vi) Change Challenges Status Quo

Change can be dangerous as it is challenging the status quo. Change involves being proactive and challenging so needs to be framed in a supportive, non-threatening manner. For example, it is important to highlight how the changes will build on others' suggestions and are aligned with the organisation's core values. Furthermore, it is important not to appear negative, angry or upset as this will get people off-side. Remember: you are asking people to change their behaviours, not their personalities. Research has shown (Fiona Smith, 2010e) that introverts are more receptive to proactive and challenging ideas.

. At the same time, if you are in a situation where your own personal values are in conflict with the way your organisation conducts its affairs, you need to consider very carefully your position in the organisation.

. Need to encourage people to expand their thinking. Exploration and learning is divergent process; while problem solving and performing is a more convergent process. This involves an "accordion-like approach" where efforts are directed at selecting the relevant chunks of knowledge and the relationships between them. Mind mapping is a good way to nurture this. Linked with this are curiosity and reflection. Curiosity can be need-driven (fuelled by immediate challenges) or interest-driven (the internal spark that requires slowing down and creating time for reflection). In other words,

"...just taking knowledge and using it and applying it in different contexts, and reflecting on it, rather than just solving the existing is that sort of cognitive flexibility, plasticity and knowledge......that leads people to be much more effective in the workplace..."

Robert Wood as quoted by Joanna Maxwell 2008

. Be careful of confusing a change in style of management with the inability to make up one's mind. Be able to "adapt to change" and "change to adapt"

. Avoid egocentrism, ie becoming ensnared in one's own view of events. Remember: the art is to become engaged with the psyche of the other person rather than to articulate your own point of view. Thus it is important to have a full understanding of the other person's idiosyncrasies.

. Need to be very opportunistic, ie sometimes you will have to wait for the right moment to introduce something new; if it is introduced too soon, it could risk being rejected.

. Be willing to challenge traditions, norms, etc

. Remember: timing that is important, ie

"...Success occurs when preparation meets opportunity..."

Paul Anderson, ex BHP Managing Director in AFRMagazine


"...success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for 21 minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after 30 seconds..."

Alan Schoenfeld as quoted by Malcolm Gladwell, 2008

. Need to be an opportunists, and have the strength and presence of mind to seize opportunities as they present themselves

. There are claims (Malcolm Gladwell, 2008) that it takes around 10 years, or 10,000 hours, of practice to become an expert or the top of their field, such as Beatles (music), Bill Gates (computer software), Bobby Fischer (chess), Tiga Woods (golf), etc

. Be careful of "copy cat" programs derived from other industries and overseas countries, as cultures differences between contexts may have unpredictable consequences

. Be prepared to read as widely as possible, especially that are outside your area of expertise. Remember: many things that will have a major impact on your industry and organisation will come from outside your industry

. Maintain maximum flexibility in the approach to change, and focus on the important areas that can be changed relatively quickly. If a wrong decision is made, be prepared to change it


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