NEED 2 RESPONSE IN TOTAL, ONE FOR EACH
With time, everything changes. We can either chose to flow with those changes or be left behind. Watching and reading the three scenarios concerning change has led to a few conclusions about change and its significance. This paper will discuss the need for and the barriers to change, the inspiration for and against change, and life lessons taken from our stories.
Life altering events, adversity, and loss create a need for change. Whether it is the loss of a loved-one, new work conditions, or health concerns, they all have a significant impact on how we see the world and ourselves in it. These events tend to hit hardest when they are least expected; therefore, thrusting its beneficiary into a frenzy into contemplating how to navigate through these events. Barriers to change in these situations are primarily personal mindsets such as fear of the unknown, complacency, and a sense of entitlement. In a study by Bastin, A. et. al (2019) in Health behaviours, intentions and barriers to change among obesity classes I, II and III, 58% of participants cited â€œthe lack of willpowerâ€ as their barrier to change.
Change itself inspires us to change. Our goals inspire us. We have to be motivated by the idea of being and having better. Being aware of self and our personal need for growth inspire us to make necessary adjustments. For instance, an organization that historically dominated a particular market and then overtime found itself not being able to compete, would find itself reevaluating its practices in order to return to its former status. Employees who find their professional careers at stake would find ways to reinvent themselves in order to compete with a competitive work force.
A significant takeaway from our stories is the need for adaptation. As Langer, N. (2012) notes in Who Moved My Cheese? Adjusting to Age-Related Changes, â€œadaptation is the process of adjusting to fit a situation or environment. Changes that require adaptation can occur either within the individual and/or in his/her situation or environmentâ€ (p. 459). For those of us who envision more for ourselves, we quickly learn when adaptation is needed and we adjust accordingly. Always carrying and being cognizant of the vision of our dream will ensure that we are taking the necessary steps and paths in achieving them.
Bastin, A., Romain, A. J., Marleau, J., & Baillot, A. (2019). Health behaviours, intentions and barriers to change among obesity classes I, II and III. Clinical Obesity, (1). https://doi.org/10.1111/cob.12287
Langer, N. (2012). Who Moved My Cheese? Adjusting to Age-Related Changes. Educational Gerontology, 38(7), 459â€“464. https://doi-org.libproxy.troy.edu/10.1080/03601277…
When I first joined the Air Force in 1990, there was lots of change being forced upon the service by the then chief of staff. Our uniforms changed, our base organization structures changed, and quality was being implemented everywhere. In fact, it is seemed that were making changes for mere sake of changing, not because it was actually needed. As soon as we got a new chief of staff, most of the changes were reversed. According to Levasseur (1992), an organization must first be unfrozen before change should be implemented and then the organization must be refrozen to lock in the change. In 1990 there was no felt need for the changes occurring in the Air Force, so it was ineffective change.
There were definitely barriers to change present in 1990 that prevented successful implementation. Torres and Gati (2011) identified several barriers that hinder change processes. Trust within an organization is needed for employees to embrace changes. If employees donâ€™t trust leaders and do not believe that managers considered their best interests, they are more likely to resist changes. Secondly, communication is essential to successful change. Change managers must clearly communicate the need for change as well as solicit inputs from employees about how best to implement change. This involvement will help to build a felt need for change. Finally, participation of employees is needed to create the social pressures needed for change, help lock in the change, and standardize the new processes (Torres & Gati, 2011).
Furthermore, Palmer, Dunford, and Buchanan (2017) asserts that organizational learning is required for organizations to identify and respond to the need for change. Without this organizational learning, companies can become complacent, arrogant, and frozen in the way things have always been done. In the story of who moved my cheese, we can see that the two mice, Sniff and Scurry, were not surprised by the change to their cheese. They anticipated the change and quickly responded when the time arrived. The two humans, Hem and Haw, were not looking out for change or prepared for the it when it happened (Attard, 2014). Likewise, the manner in which our world has become hyperconnected in the last decade has fundamentally changed the way businesses, schools, and even the military operate. But if people did not adequately prepare for these changes, then they will likely be struggling in todayâ€™s realities (Johns Hopkins University, 2011).
In order for change implementation to succeed, first organizations must be ready for changes. Leaders must acknowledge that change is continuous, and that there will always be pressures both external and internal that will drive the need to change. They must anticipate change and then prepare for change by training, resourcing and communicating effectively throughout the organization. If employees expect change, then they will more likely respond appropriately when it arrives.
In your first paragraph you mention feeling in the 1990’s that you were having change forced on you simply for the sake of change. This stuck out to me because I remember having similar thoughts at the time, and I found it interesting that while you were experiencing these difficulties in the military, I was seeing the same issues in the private sector. It wasn’t long after the “Who Moved My Cheese” book came out. Apparently someone high up in our organization (retail pharmacies) had been exposed to the book and immediately thought the whole company needed to be trained on its lessons. We were called into a training room with no prior information on the subject, in fact the topic was a complete surprise. When I walked in I noticed there were huge stacks of boxes covered in orange construction paper in two corners of the room stacked almost to the ceiling. I later realized it was meant as a cute representation of the cheese stations in the book. Over the next 8 hours we were told that everything must change, we must accept change, change was the only way to survive, and all change was good. I am guessing you can perceive from my tone, even 20 years later, that it wasn’t one of my favorite training sessions.
I didn’t mind the use of the cute story, but no effort was made to explain how it related to our business situation, and there was no talk of how to evaluate what change was good and what might have negative effects. We were not even pointed in the direction of what changes might be needed. We simply were told that change, even if only for the sake of change itself, was a good thing.
Since then, I have often struggled with the question of how to evaluate if all change is positive, or how best to evaluate a potential change. Certainly, not all change or innovation is viewed in hindsight as positive. The introduction of “New Coke” in the 1980’s is widely considered as a failure. Though the reasons for the failure are disputed (Schindler, 1992), I think it is safe to say that most would not consider changing that formula as a positive change.
Regardless of how I reacted to my initial training regarding change, and the “Who Moved My Cheese” book, I think over time I have come to appreciate the themes and lessons it contains. I also hope that I have learned to incorporate the advice from your posting and remember to always communicate the specific need for changes, and seek input from team members to develop specific plans for implementing new ideas or policies.
Schindler, R. (1992). The real lesson New Coke: The value of focus groups for predicting the effects of social influence. Marketing Research 4(4). 22-27. Retrieved from http://libproxy.troy.edu/login?url=http://search.e…