“The best way to address tomorrow’s problems is to see how they’ve been handled in the past.” People like to define future events based on history. The problem with that approach is that the future contains too many events for which there are no precedents.
“The best way to stay on top of your industry is to study the competition.” Too many companies are consumed by their competition. It is just as critical, however, to concentrate outside your field or industry and apply those principles to what you do. If you spend all your time following in your competitors’ footsteps, you may catch up, but are unlikely to move ahead.
“Visions and dreams are soft issues; we should focus on hard goals.” The difference between a dream and a goal is that the dream provides meaning, while the goal provides an interim milestone. Visions motivate us to change the way we perceive our roles, and they inspire learning. When you follow a dream or strive to make a vision a reality, you think long term and “out of the box.”
“We don’t need employee commitment in order to succeed.” Employees, forced to accept change, will give it no more than lip service; they just go through the motions. They quietly resist change by such techniques as mumbling under their breath and learning slowly; they may even sabotage efforts to bring about change.
“I don’t have the time to focus on trivial things.” Many companies focus on large problems to the exclusion of small ones––even if they can be easily remedied. They fail to understand the cumulative impact that small problems can have on a company.
“Let’s have a meeting and think about change.” You shouldn’t think about quality only when you’re in a meeting addressing quality; you shouldn’t think about learning only when attending a seminar; and you shouldn’t think of change as a once-in-a-while occurrence, a separate function apart from everyday activities. Change is as much a mind-set as an activity. It is not a special program or an event, but something that must be incorporated into everything you do.
“Let’s send them to a seminar to learn what it takes to be successful.” A critical component of change management is education. The American educational focus, however, has always been on specific skill sets; today, when skills become obsolete every few years, we must devote as much effort to learning how to learn as we spend focusing on learning specific skills or techniques.
Change . . . Why Bother?