Many would say that change is the most important business competency we’re facing today. A Forbes article written in July of 2011 stated, “the rate of change in the world today is going up fast…and it’s affecting organizations in a huge way. What’s particularly important is that it’s increasingly going up not just in a linear slant, but almost exponentially.” It’s 2015 and exponential change is now all around us.
All of this change creates disruption, which often occurs to us as something going wrong, not something that could be going better. It can be seen as “happening” to us, something completely out of our control. But, what if we could be good at change? What if we could spot change early, take control, and use it to our advantage?
Thriving organizations are constantly reacting in a way that makes change work for them, rather than against them. According to Franklin Covey, there are 5 Typical Reactions to Change:
- The Mover: you learn about change and move quickly toward the new objective
- The Minimalist: you want to know what’s expected of you and change as little as possible
- The Waiter: you do nothing as first and when enough people around you change, you slowly adapt
- The Resistor: you dislike change and try to convince other people to fight against it
- The Quitter: you simply “opt-out” when presented with the change and move somewhere else
Each of these reactions actually happen to all of us at some point or another. There are strengths and weaknesses and causes for each reaction. Which one do you find yourself being most of the time?
When it comes to modern day technology, my father is “The Quitter”. Since the inception of email, he has refused to participate. It frustrates me to no end, doesn’t he see that there is a new communication opportunity to connect with his family, friends, and colleagues?! Today as I was facilitating a change workshop to a group of senior leaders it dawned on me - to my father, the innovation of email communication occurs as a disruption. He has made his living in the automotive industry as a brilliant live communicator and talking through a password, screen oriented lifestyle is not only a threat to one of his strongest skills, but also to his industry as he knows it.
In order to make change work for us, not against us, practice a reaction to change. How would email impact my father as “The Mover”? Would you be clearer on your role during your new software implementation as “The Minimalist”? Would you be less prone to careless mistakes as “The Waiter”?
If we think back on the best moments of our lives, many of them probably involved a change. It is a developmental skill we can imagine, plan, and do. As we make strides, we will discover how we can turn almost any change into an opportunity. And perhaps one day, I’ll be writing a blog post on how my father finally emailed me!