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    Don’t Let The Wind Change- Embracing Change in the Workplace through change management

Don’t Let The Wind Change- Embracing Change in the Workplace through change management

Most of us are familiar with the childhood superstition so beautifully illustrated in Ruth Park and Deborah Niland’s book When the Wind Changed.  Of course we didn’t really believe that an ugly face would stick if the wind changed!  However, such superstitions betray an underlying belief that perhaps change is something to be feared.

As we move into the second half of 2014, we are all confronted by change, immersed in it, surrounded by it and – whether willingly or kicking and screaming – we are forced to participate in it.  While there is nothing new about change – it is perhaps the most perennial force in the evolution of our reality as we know it – each age and each generation is confronted with new levels and types of change.  At a broad level we have climate change, political change, economic change, technological change, and social and cultural change.  In every mass media, we are bombarded with reminders of these on a daily basis.

Restructuring has become the catch cry for the new millennium, with both positive and negative connotations and denotations.  In the past week, we have heard discussions about raising the pension age to 67, about the need to restructure the health system, about the escalating costs of housing and growing after-housing poverty to mention just a few.

All changes, whether global, national or local, impact us personally.  While there may be differing degrees of impact based on the type of change experienced and an individual’s ability to deal with change, most of us experience stress when confronted with change.  And all the rhetoric in the world about braving change, about its benefits, about the need to adapt and be resilient does not make […]

Taking Risks and Learning from Mistakes

…although pessimists are often correct in their analyses, only optimists have ever changed the world for the better. Optimism however is not enough to improve humanity. Change happens when passionate people take risks and embrace failure.

 – Maria J. Stephan is a Ph.D. candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
 Advances in almost every field of knowledge, learning and development have been gleaned from the courage and willingness to risk failure.  Not just risk failure but embrace it over and over again, to find a better way or break through the barrier to success.

We all have stories about being punished for making mistakes, at school, in relationships with friends and family, or in the workplace.  Gradually, we learn that risk increases the margin for error and assume that to err means failure.  So, we learn how to “work the system” to our advantage and gain benefits and rewards for staying in the shallows and not “making waves”.   We become obedient girls and boys and model employees.  But somewhere, something valuable is lost.  No organisation can thrive with a staff of automatons.  They may survive but will never be at the cutting edge.

As babies and small children learning to walk and talk, we took risks and defied failure without hesitation.  As adults, perhaps not without reason, many of us are much more guarded in our risk-taking and more self-punishing when confronted with failure.  Through the socialisation process mediated through families, education, politics, religions, the media and other institutions, our instincts, desires and pursuits are channeled in socially acceptable and often sate ways.  While much of this may benefit the individual and society, so much is lost in terms of human potential, creativity and innovation.

I recently […]