Why Being Prepared For Change Is So Important
In the past, senior executives had a simple goal for themselves and their organizations: stability. The new paradigm is different. It calls for creativity, innovation, quick responses, and information gathering as the means to achieve a competitive advantage. This has led to a constantly evolving business environment and a culture that shifts rapidly. Today, there are unlimited factors that can affect businesses, so the aim is to always be prepared for developments that create uncertainty.
Let me introduce myself. I’m Fernanda Ramos, and I’ve always been drawn to guiding others through the process of bettering themselves. Professionally, as an organizational psychologist specialized in change management, innovation and human capital. I see companies as systemic living organisms that are in constant movement, and their ability to adapt to change as their means for growth and resilience. My professional orientation is based on a systemic approach.
In the systemic approach it is understood that organizations function as living organisms, where all the components interact, are interdependent, and are influenced by their environment. It offers a different perspective than the cause/effect paradigm, which is not well suited to endure and adjust to environmental changes and challenges. The systemic approach postulates that we influence and are influenced by the systems we are part of, and it is focused on embracing the growing need to adapt. This requires movement and rearrangement of parts, which allows companies to evolve and become resilient.
Adaptation represents an unprecedented challenge and is profoundly difficult because the structure, culture, and routines of organizations often reflect a persistent and difficult-to-remove “imprint”. Change requires a redefinition of the use of resources, process reviews, and consumer habit. When companies embrace adaptation, uncertainty diminishes, and engagement increases. It becomes clear that everyone is a key player in what’s to come and a new corporate culture develops. One where each player is willing to move out of their comfort zone, go through a learning process and find new opportunities to showcase their talents. This results in an empowered and resilient workforce which embraces change more quickly and effectively. The development of this capability does not happen by chance however, it requires a strategic approach to embed change management across an organization. In other words, in an environment of rapid change, the companies experiencing the highest level of success are the ones that have focused a significant portion of their resources into change management.
There are several external stimuli that drive change and deserve our attention. The political environment is one, for example, and perhaps among the least predictable elements. Therefore, managers must explore how upcoming legislation may affect their business activities. The political situation in a country affects its economic setting, the economic setting affects business performance, and lack of political stability in a country affects business operations. This is especially true for the companies which operate internationally. In a world filled with political change, business organizations have become the vehicle for social reform, therefore, it is now a key element to consider in business decisions because it is a means for developing stability in an unstable environment.
As with the development of any other competency, it takes time to become proficient. Attempting to change something before one is personally ready is likely to be as productive as a New Year’s resolution. Yet, being prepared, open to change, and resilient is a competitive advantage in the current environment. So, it may be worth it to consider embracing this methodology. A company can gain an edge by using the systemic approach to consider all the elements and components of the organization. This includes focusing on how much value and how powerful it is to embrace adaptability, and by keeping what’s been working so far and discarding what is not. Change is happening rapidly, so tomorrow your current business structure may be obsolete. I can appreciate why some companies resist change, change is difficult and frightening. To succeed however, we must begin to learn from our experiences and change quickly. We must rearrange the pieces of our businesses into a new configuration that is far more powerful and adaptive. If we do this, we will gain an advantage and it will inspire innovation that may one day reshape the world in which we live.
Business Developer / Consultant
Jay W. Forrester. (2009). Some basic concept in system Dynamics. Sloan School of Management: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.