17 Mar Change begins with learning to manage change
Change is our day to day life, each second is different from the last and we do not yet know if the next one will be the one we expect or the one which will call everything into question! It can be desired or endured, it can be major or minor, it is often synonymous with innovation, it shapes the future and relates to the project development of each individual as well as to that of any human organisation (company, administration, state, association, family…).
It is thus an inescapable element of our lives which we must learn to master in order to manage our future, both individual and collective, but also to avoid feeling unsettled when it surprises us, or unsettling others when we are the ones initiating change.
In order to do this, we must follow a rigorous methodology which is, logically, the same whether it is for developing a personal life project, a business project or managing the evolution of an already existing organisation.
Yet our Judeo-Christian culture has not integrated change in its society model. It has even been fighting change for millennia. After its attempt to stop the evolution of sciences by threatening the first scientists to be burned at the stake for heresy, it allows only the master to dictate change to the servants. Change is not shared in order to preserve existing privileges.
Consequently school does not teach change management, this is not part of its objectives. In other words this means that nobody is trained in change management whatever their position, master or servant!
We are facing a case of collective incompetency. The best illustration of this fact is the reaction of a French elected representative, responsible for developing the attractiveness of a provincial area, to whom I recently expressed my surprise at seeing so few elected representatives with project management expertise; to the 80% figure that I was proposing, of elected representatives without any project management experience, he responded: “But you are off the mark, the reality is 99%!”.
Change management being off the program, school mainly forms specialised producers, without giving them an overall understanding of their environment and without developing in them the necessary qualities for the management of change, creativity and the spirit of cooperation. This results in the compartmentalisation of functions, of cultures and mentalities which adds to conflicts of interests to produce what is usually known as “resistance to change”. It is not surprising then, that the world is a huge conflict, unfortunately often bloody, orchestrated by resistance to change in all its forms. No human organisation is spared, starting with school which struggles to reform itself.
From an economy standpoint, this collective incompetency translates into a lack of a tool, that we could call “productivity of creation”, for measuring the efficiency of any project of innovation and change in terms of establishing a diagnostic, researching and implementing a solution. This results in a waste of time and money, and an inability to offset the sole “Financial Productivity”, which is a productivity of production.
From a human standpoint, at the expense of improving our human condition, it translates into a lack of questioning of our society model and thus our culture which, for a lot of us, is sacred and for others the reflection of an immutable human nature. This lives us all facing a hopeless future.
If this gap within our education system is dramatic at a collective level, it is no less dramatic at a personal level.
It does not allow us to understand a key point: the entrepreneur’s approach to developing an innovation project, the facilitator’s approach to managing change within an organisation and the individual’s approach to developing his/her own life project are THE SAME! The questions to ask ourselves are the same and the success of these respective approaches is based, in all cases, on respect for the identity of the individuals concerned and the collaborative approach; the only ways to prevent resistance to change and self-censorship.
This lack of awareness is fatal for respecting the identity of the individual, which is constantly denied by the authority of a “Do what you’re told”, smothering individuals’ creativity, motivation, cooperation and equilibrium, whether they are master and/or servant. Beyond the consequent loss of autonomy affecting the individual and the corresponding generated assistantship, the major impact is psychological damage which is expressed not just in financial costs, but can also cast depression on lives, and is a factor of aggressiveness and division, far from the well-being that we all seek.
If you wish, out of necessity or by personal choice, to initiate a career transition, if you would like to develop your territory or your organisation, whether it is a company or an administration, if you wish to contribute to change in society, the desired change starts with learning to manage change. Understanding the whys and wherefores of change management not only saves time and money, but also brings hope, motivation, and comfort to finally reach the desired objective. This avoids conflicts and self-censorship, factors leading to malaise, to blockage and stagnation, even to regression.
You can equally read “Tomahawk or Non-Evolution, Towards a New Vision”: www.mercier-partnership.com .
Yves Mercier, Founder of the YMI Network.
Author of “Tomahawk or Non-Evolution, Towards a New Vision”.
Promoter of Collaborative Leadership for innovation and change management.