Thought for the Day 20 June, 2017


Thought for the Day – 20 June 2017

My thought for today is:

“It is said that a change is as good as a holiday – that’s true unless you are trying to implement that change!”

Let me explain. But first some questions. Have you ever tried to implement a change in your family or at work? The change might be a change in the structure of the unit, like a new baby at home or a new reporting structure at work. It might be much bigger than that, like moving house or selling the business. When you tried to implement the change did it go as smoothly as you expected? OR, were there a lot of difficulties you didn’t foresee? Did you then wonder why, what seemed so simple, turned out to be frustratingly difficult?

A lot of the explanation comes from understanding a simple human behavioral dynamic. It can be summarized by saying that, ‘when change is implemented you will have to manage up to four types of people. The diagram shows how it works. The people will be supportive of the change or they will be against it. The people will be quiet or noisy about their position. That gives you four groups, as the diagram illustrates, and these groups have to be managed differently. This is where the problems start. The first group, the noisy supporters are relatively easy to manage. You turn them into the missionaries for the change and they will go round clarifying, explaining, promoting and selling thee change. The silent supporters are a problem because they are difficult to identify. But because they are on your bus, you don’t really have to worry about them.

That brings us to the opposition. The noisy opposition will run around, shouting the odds and doing everything in their power to counter your missionaries and yourself. The only plus, for you, is that you will have no trouble identifying them. In a business, if they defy your attempts to swing them to your cause, you may have to remove them in some way – a transfer away or, in the final confrontation, a disciplinary or even a dismissal. The problem is doubly difficult in a family, where a transfer might be to boarding school, and disciplinary unpleasant and counter-productive and, of course, dismissal is impossible. In the last resort some compromise might have to be negotiated. That only leaves the silent opposition. They are the worst. You can’t see them and you can’t hear them. They are like white ants, munching away at what you are trying to do. Your only hopes are that they give themselves away but consorting with the noisy opposition, or that they are identified by a silent supporter who comes to tell you about it. Once you know who they are you treat them just like the noisy opposition. This all illustrates just how tricky managing change really is.

And just think. Most organizations of all sorts don’t plan and manage change very carefully. They think they can just say it will happen and then they expect it to happen.

So what kind of person are you when it comes to change?

All the best, in a changing world!

Cheers, Dave.


About Dave Macfie

Dave Macfie is the General Manager and Lead Consultant of Unique Advantage South Africa, a consulting company specializing in creating unique business advantage from purpose, analysis, insight, alignment and action. Dave’s qualifications include a double honors degree in mathematics and physics and a post graduate certificate in education. (Cum Laude) His career spans forty five years of experience in IT, business, property development and high school teaching. He lives in Johannesburg, South Africa with his wife Sandi and three of his seven children. Dave loves addressing business performance challenges, reading, writing fiction and non-fiction, gardening and spending time with his family.

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