Change Happens: A Perspective from The Trenches

“Change is the only constant in life.” Heraclitus of Ephesus.

In my role as Project Manager, I’ve participated in or led many change efforts. Some were smaller changes such as software upgrades. Others were large organizational changes in business processes. They all had one thing in common. Resistance.

Organizational and social change is a chaotic business. It’s stressful and can bring out the ugly in the best of us. Why? Most people are hardwired to HATE CHANGE. I’ve seen folks cling to an aging system that cost way too much money to maintain. They’d rather remain in their comfortable negativity than move on to a new way of doing things. It never ceases to stun me. Now that I’m older and wiser, I’ve learned to stop pounding my new ideas into folks who don’t want to listen. I move around them and get it done.

There are three camps in any change effort:

Camp Innovation – You’ll find me waving the 3D holographic flag powered by solar energy. My team and I are the “Change Agents” with the innovated ideas to make life better. We see a problem and find amazing ways to solve it (and hopefully make the world a better place). Sometimes we forget not everyone is onboard with our awesome ideas.

Camp We’ll See – These folks are the ones grounded in reality (maybe a little cynical). Their motto is “Yeah right. It’s a nice idea, but how are you going to pull it off?” This is the largest camp. These are the folks any change agent has to convince. A good change agent should also take the time to listen to their valid concerns.

Camp Grumpy (So many names I could call these folks! None of them are very PC.) – Their motto is “We’ve always done things this way. We don’t need to change.” Then they dig their heels in and refuse to help make the change happen. It wouldn’t be so bad if they stuck with being old curmudgeons, but they don’t. I’ve seen this camp purposely sabotage efforts. They would rather waste money, ruin their careers and make enemies than change.  Reasoning with these folks is a waste of time.

You may be thinking, “Gawd, this sounds like a horrible time!”

You’d be right. Change, however, happens whether we’re onboard or not. The hard part is making certain change heads in a positive, world enhancing direction. We have to hang on during the ugly times. Turmoil stems from resistance. Resistance stems from fear.

Know there are people in this world who would do anything to keep the status quo, no matter how outdated and horrible. There are, however, just as many dedicated people working toward a better tomorrow. Right now, you are living through a time of social change. Evidence of turmoil and angst are in the news every day. It’s hard to watch. We have to remember turmoil comes before great social change. Things will get better. I see it in the conviction of the people working to overcome hate.

Keep the faith and hang on.

 

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