The power of change

The need to constantly adapt could become a natural part of our everyday world, giving us not only the capability to understand and to cope, but the willingness and openness to evolve as well. By Fiona Hewitt. 

As an organisation, at NZIM we are embracing the power of change, and as of May 1, we will be releasing our new brand to market. The decision and review process that drew us to this being the right decision was significant and involved in-depth research, analysis, dialogue and reflection.

What has been wonderful for us has been the amount of feedback that we have received from our members, the market and the wider business community which has been overwhelmingly positive, with the unanimous sentiment being that this it is not only the right thing for us to do, but it is the only thing to do.

Whilst as an organisation we were confident of the rationale around our rebrand, we had some trepidation on how it would be perceived in the market.

In the past it was not uncommon for change to be perceived as a negative and the old adage of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” was a pretty standard approach for many organisations and the key people within it.

Perhaps we have all gone through a transformational shift and the recognition that change is necessary for any business to remain relevant is more widespread.
Constant change is now the new normal and it’s the reality for any organisation to continually adapt within their market in order to stay competitive or face the risk of becoming obsolete.

“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” Ben Franklin may not have been an entrepreneur by trade or a current one at that, but his words echo today more than ever before.

Change is now the true constant and it is a behaviour, an attitude and focus that organisations need to focus on and encourage.

The status quo can be more comfortable for us all, but ultimately successful companies and individuals need to develop a mindset and culture that just keeps moving all the time. And in order for change to be fully embraced within an organisation, it first needs to be accepted that change is a necessary part of any organisation’s culture.

No single methodology or approach fits every company. There is significant reading, research and learnings available on how to manage or approach change but I think if we, as organisations and leaders, can start driving different conversations within our businesses then we can create stronger cultures and demonstrate behaviours where change, if not welcomed, is at least understood.

To embrace change most people at first need to understand what it means and the reasons why.
If organisations can begin to have a dialogue at all levels that explore and explain the challenges and opportunities that exist, both within their organisation or outside of it, this can, and will, assist in not only the collective force understanding the issues but may potentially create the environment to find resolutions to address them.

Technology can’t replace the art of conversation but it can assist and with an intranet and the social media platforms available within organisations it can provide the additional means of communicating and opening the lines of communication.

Organisational change initiatives often fail at being completely embedded within an organisation. This may be due to many initiatives not considering how changes will affect the people in an organisation.

To successfully implement change initiatives, organisational leaders must identify the need for change and communicate it throughout the organisation.
They must also engage people at all levels of the organisation by involving them early with regards to the proposed changes.

At the most basic level, people must acknowledge and buy into the need for change. An organisation cannot even begin to introduce change unless its people understand and support the reasons driving the change.

By successfully championing open dialogue and open conversations you can minimise the potential of change disruption and, if at all possible, involving the people most affected by the change in its implementation or design helps not only to deliver the change strategy well but strongly contributes to an open change culture.

Businesses that are adept at handling or even embracing change can foster an environment that encourages innovation. Employees who feel that their ideas will be considered by a manager or business owner may be more willing to think creatively and to positively contribute in, and for, change.

The challenge in encouraging innovation for an organisation is that you must also encourage failure – for you cannot deliver true innovation without the ability to “try and fail” and then “try and fail again”.

A really interesting TED Talk “Smart failure in a fast changing world” from business educationalist Eddie Obeng is on how the world is changing rapidly and he discusses the reasons why we need to create cultures of “smart failure”.

Efficiency can be the ‘positive support’ of change. By championing efficiency and creating conversations and culture that continually look to ways of delivering greater results and better ways of doing business this will help create a focus of improvement and the proactive appetite for constant evolution.

Change can bring new opportunities, not only from a business or revenue point-of-view, but from a learning or exposure point-of-view for your people. By opening up the change process and proactively looking at how the change can positively impact on people, and their ability to develop or grow their skills and understanding, it may assist in change being perceived more positively.

Regardless of what role or industry we are in, change is constant and with the aide of technology the speed of change will only continue to increase along with the pressure and demand to keep abreast of it.

If we can develop cultures of change within organisations that embrace our people within then the transition for everyone will be easier. The need to constantly adapt could then become a natural part of our everyday world; giving us not only the capability to understand and to cope but the willingness and openness to evolve
as well.


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