Change happens all around us and all the time. In this three part series I write about change. Today’s post is an introduction. Next week we will look at drivers of change. We then round off this series with a few tips on how to initiate and lead effective change in organisations.
Change can be broadly classified into two categories, natural and induced.
Natural change, which is gradual and organic is often seen in nature. It is subtle, and often, the process itself is unnoticeable. It only becomes evident based on the result. Examples of this include:
- Buds blooming into fragrant and colourful flowers (days to weeks)
- New leaves emerging in spring, and trees full of leaves by peak summer (weeks to months)
- Us growing up from being newborns, to children, to what we are today (years to decades)
- Evolution (centuries to millenia)
The above examples look at change happening at different scales of time. You get the drift now, I suppose. The common running theme in these cases is growth, and improved functionality.
Human endeavour to effect change falls in the category of induced change, which is bringing about change externally. The primary objective of human induced change has always been to:
- Eliminate the bad
- Increase the good
This is different from drivers of change, which includes things like technology, discovery of opportunity, and more recently, the ongoing pandemic. Coming back to the objective of human induced change, let us briefly look at the three points.
Reduce the Bad
The basic pursuit of human life is happiness. What makes us happy as individuals is different, and so is the way we achieve happiness. However, the desire to be happy is a universal human constant. Bad things make us unhappy, therefore we must eliminate bad things. From an organisation’s perspective bad things include lack of sufficient sales, low productivity, lack of skilled labour, costs of doing business, competition, and so forth. The first objective of change management is eliminating/reducing the bad.
Example: Our unplanned downtime is currently high, therefore we are introducing some changes to reduce this unplanned downtime by 20% in every quarter.
Increase the Good
Keeping in line with the universal human constant of being happy, we now increase the good things. Once we have a control over eliminating/reducing the bad, the next thing is to increase the good. This is more about improving performance, entering new markets, developing new products, growing the team and so forth.
Example: We are planning to develop new products to enhance/consolidate our position in this market and enter new markets, and with this in mind we are making a few changes
Sometimes, we notice that in reducing or eliminating the bad we also have an opportunity to increase the good. By eliminating or reducing unplanned downtime, we improve our productivity, which might lead to new customers and improved sales and revenue.
To summarise this week’s post:
- Change is broadly classified into two types; natural and induced
- The primary purpose of human life is to be happy
- The main objectives of human induced change are to eliminate the bad and increase the good
To know how you can initiate and lead change effectively, I suggest you talk to the clever folks at Equitus Engineering Limited.