In life, one thing is constant; change! Change is a shift in paradigm which results in a corresponding effect in another area of life; it is a powerful force that takes place in every sphere of human endeavour. Change does not discriminate neither does it fear. It deals with every individual, rich and poor; big and small with the same measure of consequence. Change comes in different measures, sometimes it is good and appreciated, another time it is though and very challenging but in all, change is a vital ingredient which nature has made to help mankind to develop through his journey in life.
Change is inevitable; it is a principle of life and creation. It affects everything and its occurrence is designed by nature to help an individual to move from one stage in life to another level. The wisest man that ever lived, King Solomon said in my favorite book that there is a time and season for everything; a time to laugh and a time to cry…..
Take for instance the process that takes place when a baby is born. From his first day of arrival on earth, the baby goes through all kinds of process to develop; beginning with learning how to sit down, to how to crawl. In the process of time he begins to learn how to stand up, fall down, walk and run. At another stage of life he begins to experience another type of change when he begins to fall sick and get well.
Some of the areas we experience changes are:
- Cultural Diversification
- Economic Transformation
- Social and Political Transition
It is imperative that we understand the dynamics of change so that we become well prepared and equipped in our minds to respond to it in order to fulfill our individual and corporate purposes.
Types of Change
There are four major types of change that are distinct in human being. These are:
1. Unexpected change – which commonly affects our individual personal lives, careers and families.
2. Environmental change – this affects our society, nation and the entire world with a spill over effect on our personal lives.
3. Internal change – this type bears a physical, mental, emotional or spiritual impact on our lives. It imparts on our belief system.
4. Self-imposed change – this occurs when we consciously take action to implement plans to achieve our personal goals.
While we live on earth, our lives are transformed in one way or the other through change; this may be self-imposed or change we initiated by ourselves. It is important to recognize that every thing in life changes. There is nothing that is static except change, nothing!
How To Manage Change
There are two methods in which people approach change. Each of these methods determines the type of result people achieve in life. The ability to succeed or fail rests purely on these two simple but very important methods and if you are serious about achieving success in your live, business or career, you need to understand these methods and how to apply them.
1. Reactive Approach
Some people believe that change is irrelevant and should not occur at all. For this reason, they blame every body including the government, their friends and families for every misfortune that come their way. These groups of people have trained their subconscious to reactive to change.
Reacting to change is negative and some of the causes of this are fear, ignorance, miscalculation and irresponsible use of resources. There are many ways people react to change and that include the following.
a). Ignore or Deny Change
This occurs when people fold their hands and watch change take place rather than participating in the process. It is the worst reactive approach to change. This action tends to pretend that change isn’t happening or that even if it happens, it would have no effect. No matter the source of change it is wrong to pretend that it is not happening because it means that you are not committed to making improvement and moving forward. It best thing to do would be to understand and believe that it has come, accept its reality and commit yourself to fulfilling the demand that comes with it. Dr, Myles Munroe said that ‘change is always the introduction of the future to the present; change is tomorrow taking over today and a denial of change is a decision to live in yesterday.’ If you deny change, you are making yourself irrelevant in the scheme of things.
b). Adopting the Anger Tactics
When change is introduced, some people greet it with serious anger by behaving irrationally to constituted authority. The reason some people behave like this is because change caught up with them unannounced and without their permission; so it is not something they wanted or feel able to deal with. In the process, they accuse other people for being responsible for it.
In order to show a proof of their actions they usually come up with statements such as these:
- Who do they think they are?
- Why are they picking on us?
- What’s so damned bad about the way things are?
- How could [you] the boss allow this to happen?
- This is how we do it!
- I have worked in this organization for 10 years [or more], it is never done like this!
Being angry to change is destructive to the live of the people who indulge in its practice. In extreme case, it makes these people to verbally attack other people, become antagonistic against the society or develop self-destructive habits such as drinking excessively and taking drugs.
One way of dealing with this is to understand that although circumstances and people change, the gains of change more usually more than the initial shock that comes with it.
c). Resisting or Defying Change
Resisting change literally means saying ‘this will not happen. This group of people is like anybody who stands in front of a moving vehicle in order to stop it from moving. Guess what will happen to him/her….. he would be run down. I worked in an organization where the regulatory authority of that industry rolled out a new regulation in 2004, requiring all companies within the industry to raise their share capital base to $193 million within 12 months or lose their licenses. Some of the companies moved quickly to the capital market to raise the funds and those that could not get enough from the capital market formed merger alliances with other companies.
I will not forget my Managing Director at one of our management meetings telling us that ‘it would not work’ and justifying his reasons by the fact that certain rich men within the society who owned these companies would run down the chief executive officer who was at the helm of authority for the regulation. At the end, our company did not go to the capital market to raise funds, and could not work with other companies to secure a merger ticket and it lost its license and was closed down.
You can not resist change. What you should always remember is that change will take place at any time with or without you. Resisting change is different from resisting crime. You are likely to gain other people’s support when you Say No to crime; but you are very likely never going to be successful with that when it comes to change.
Majority of people are not successful in life because they react to change. Take for example, your company is going completely out of business due to whatever reason and has announced a mass retrenchment of its employees or perhaps your spouse divorces you and marries someone else, what could you do in any of these circumstances? Some people would still hold on to the idea that some times in the future, they may get their old jobs or their spouses back. By doing this, they sacrifice the rest of their lives holding back and thinking that things would get better. Reacting to change is negative and it is important to understand that change will take place with you or without you.
2. The Responsive Approach
Responding to Change is positive; it is being proactive to accept and help change to take place. The change in weather is a very good example; before winter come, some people buy winter coats to keep warm when it becomes chilly. By responding to change you are participating in the process of change to help it happen.
One way to respond to Change is to prepare and plan for Change. The people who prepare for change are never taken unaware or surprised by it because they understand that change is essential to life. You need to understand that life changes; this is the key to planning and preparing for the time of transition which comes with change. This attitude helps you to prepare your mind and take control over change.
Planning is important in a change management process; it is the evidence of foresight. Planning enables you to see beyond your present circumstances into the consequences of change. When you anticipate change or implement a change process in your life, planning will help you to achieve desired results. Here are some of the implications of responding to change through proper planning.
You have less anxiety, stress and fear.
- You gain greater control over your circumstances and environment
- You increase your confidence
- By being in control, you make change to your servant
I have seen change take place in every situation of life that I have trained myself to be calm in the face of any change process. Change has caught me unawares in the past when I lost my jobs, lost my business, failed in examinations several times, received quit notices from landlords, missed appointments due to delays outside my control; the list is endless. But my attitude to change is to continually think about the best ways to respond to change in order to maximize its benefits.
I have seen people give up and others lose their lives because change brought to them what they did not bargain for. I heard the story of a man who committed suicide because the government refused to extend his visa in a country where he was an immigrant.
You can initiate change in your life. This is the highest level of responsiveness to change. To help you achieve this, here are some guidelines.
- Determine what need to be changed in your life and environment
- Review various options available to help you achieve desired results
- Seek help or assistance of experts or friends who have had similar experiences in the past
- Take immediate action
Change comes in diverse ways and with different measure of impacts, and the people who succeed and become wonders to their environments are those who have the mindset of change.
If you want to learn more about change management and develop a positive mental attitude to help you achieve success in your life, go to Your Success Store and learn from the world’s leading philosophers and coaches. You can also contact us at Rehoboth World to help you to develop these skills and ability.