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Change - For it is Only Natural

Change is not the disruptive element of life, but it is the natural order of things. It is the only constant thing that is seen across the multitude of things right from ‘birth cycle’ in humans to the changes to the season.

Author:Praveen Menon | Date:07 May 2021 | Time:16:29:00

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Today’s Business world seems to be inspired by the foremost thought of Bertolt Brecht, a German poet and playwright who said:

“Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are”

Change is not the disruptive element of life, but it is the natural order of things. It is the only constant thing that is seen across the multitude of things right from ‘birth cycle’ in humans to the changes to the season.

In this cycle of change, I would like to quote Prof. Leon C. Megginson's interpretation of Charles Darwin’s ‘Survival of the Fittest’.

He says, "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change".

It’s like the ancient Chinese proverb – When the winds of change blow, some build walls some windmills.

Imperative of Change for Self:

Change is everywhere around us, right from the evolution of the ecosystem to that of mankind. We went through the different stages of human evolution which not only changed our anatomy but also our capabilities.

If we study the history of evolution, some of these changes were a ‘matter of choice’ and we survived because we made that choice.

Be it the transition from hunting stage to the farming stage or the ‘discovery of fire and wheel’ those were all an outcome of free choice.

However, in today’s business world the reason for the change is not ‘survival’ but ‘discovering potential’. It is about rediscovering yourself – the way you think and the way you act.

Why do People Resist Change?

There are many ways in which people change, both their behaviours and actions. There are scientifically researched techniques like Positive Reinforcement, Neuro Linguistic Programing (NLP) or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which help break down the new behavior into integral steps.

But the question is if it sounds so easy with multiple pieces of research available on how to change, why do people resist it?

One of the key factors I have observed in people's resistance to change is the mindset with which they operate and the boundaries that they create around them.

Some of the mindsets that I have observed are:

a) I feel connected to the past
b) I think it’s just a temporary phase and it will go away like other things
c) It will be different than what I am currently doing – so ‘NO’
d) Why change when something has been working for us so long?

When I personally reflect back, this resistance seems irrational to me, yet it is instinctive in nature. These instincts demonstrate a lack of courage and self-confidence to try out new experiences or as we call it tread into the ‘Unknown’.

I believe change is about creating a ‘mosaic of experiences’, experiences which help you learn and add a meaning to what you do.

Cracking the Code of Change:

It is difficult to develop training or workshops which will develop your capability to change. Like I said earlier, it is all about the mindset. Cracking the code to change maybe be simple, yet difficult.

People ask me how I can develop that mindset and I tell them you have already started the journey. The question ‘How can I' itself creates a mindset of curiosity. Curiosity was the element which took man to outer space or sail across the ocean to find new lands.

So always, ‘Stay Curious’.

Does change mean everything needs to be changed? Of course not!

The structures of new are always built on the foundation of old. The Wright brothers discovered aeroplanes and in today’s world, we have multiple improvements over the older versions for speed, safety, and comfort.

The reason those changes came was because we wanted to reach faster, reach safely and travel comfortably than before. We were not satisfied with what we had. That’s another element which will push you to discover and improve 'being dissatisfied with the status quo’.

If we as leaders are able to imbibe these two behaviours in people around us, it could be the key to unlocking the change puzzle. As the quest for discovery is not in seeking new lands or objects but in having new eyes and perspectives.

BY

Praveen Menon

Praveen Menon, Chief People Officer, is responsible for Talent management, Performance management, Organisation development, Training, Infrastructure, and Procurement at IndiaFirst Life. Praveen served entities such as Aditya Birla, Axis Bank, AC Nielsen, IDBI Federal Life Insurance, Citibank and HSBC in his past stints. In these organisations, he is credited to have fuelled the evolution of employee journey through apposite people practices complementing business goals.

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