Change is the New Cultural Mantra

Imagine this scenario. You come to work one day feeling competent and productive and the next, you’re incapable of performing the simplest of tasks. The accounting system has changed, a new management team is in charge or you’re expected to use the latest PDA. When change happens, we lose our sense of what’s expected of us. These disruptions lead to anxiety and frustration, challenging our notion of productivity. Whether planned or unexpected, all change is a wake-up call. Our first reaction is involuntary, like being wakened abruptly from a dream. Once we have time to think it through, we choose our responses: “Whose brilliant idea was this?” on one side and “It’s about time!” on the other - two completely different reactions for the same event. No wonder our best efforts to manage change fall short.

We’ve been taught to communicate three things to help people in these cases: “Tell ‘em what’s coming, why it’s important, and how they can participate!”. We’re told as long as we do this, people will joyously go along for the ride. And therein lies the problem. People are just going along, ix-nay the joy.

The real problem is a deep skepticism that any “new and improved” process, management restructure or latest technology will help us do our jobs better. We’ve heard these promises before. Management may be communicating the right stuff about what’s coming but they’re ignoring the elephant in the room: What’s it going to take to stop avoiding and start dealing with the lack of trust in our organizations?