Welcome to 2015! There’s something about starting a new year that brings a sense of optimism for me: the opportunity to do something different, make an important change—for the better, I hope. Many of you may share that same sense of excitement, of hopefulness; that you can change something and make it better.
But change is hard – for individuals and organizations. As I look at the research on change management, there seem to be some common reasons for why we fear change within organizations. Maybe you’ll recognize some of these in yourself or your organization. Things like loss of face; concerns about competence; more work; fear of the unknown; mistrust; loss of job security/control; bad timing; fear of the infamous hidden agenda. But change is good. Einstein once said, “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
Here’s my top ten list of reasons for why change is good, in no particular order, pulled from various other lists:
- Personal growth: You grow and learn new things every time something changes. You discover new insights about different aspects of your life. You learn lessons even from changes that did not lead you to where you wanted to be.
- Flexibility: Frequent changes make you easily adapt to new situations, new environments, and new people. As a result you do not freak out when something unexpectedly shifts.
- Improvements: We all have things in our lives we’d like to improve—finances, job, partner, house, etc. All of us know that nothing will improve by itself. We need to do things differently to make that happen. Without change, there’d be no improvements.
- Life values: From time to time changes make you re-evaluate your life and look at certain things from a different perspective. Depending on what the change is, it may also reinforce your life values.
- The snowball effect: Often we give up because we cannot accomplish the difficult task of making a huge and immediate change. That is when small changes become extremely valuable. One shift at a time, small changes will eventually lead you to the desired big one.
- Strength: Not all changes lead you to pleasant periods of life. Unfortunately, we do not live in fairy tale and sad things happen, too. Overcoming the tough period will make you stronger.
- Progress: Changes trigger progress. Things move forward and develop because of changes.
- Opportunities: One never knows what each change may bring. When you turn from your usual path there will be plenty of different opportunities waiting for you. Changes will bring new choices for happiness and fulfillment.
- New beginnings: Each change is a turning page. It is about closing one chapter and opening another one. Changes bring new beginnings and excitement to life.
- A new normal: Doing the same things, at exactly the same time, year in and year out is not living. It leads to a completely dull, extremely predictable, and boring life. A “new normal” helps to make life a great deal more interesting!
I’d like to close with quote by Charles Darwin: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
Until next time…