“Nothing is more difficult to take in hand,
More perilous to conduct,
Or more uncertain of success,
Than to take the lead in the
Introduction of a new order of things.”—Machiavelli
THE winds of change are life-generating opportunities but the waves of development invariably require more effort and time. Every change entails a paradox. As a law of life, out of order comes the need for change, but out of change comes the need for order.
The immediate past four years featured unprecedented events in the world: the Covid pandemic, the various disasters ranging from unusual flooding, wild fires, from pockets of uprising in some jurisdictions to the prolonged Ukraine adventurism. The disruptions caused by these events drove a lot of changes that include technology’s impact on business and day-to-day life. During the lock-down, a number of schemes were put into place to continue operations like working from home and conducting meetings virtually. Post-pandemic, there seems to be the preference to continue adopting in a modified form those technology enabled ways of doing things. Some businesses consider the work from home inefficient while some have adopted a hybrid of in office and from home scheme. Evidently, the ways of doing things have changed a lot.
Because of these developments, business organizations have stepped back to assess the situation and plan for the way forward. The process of looking at the big picture to poise the business for significant growth/development is not a walk in the park.
In any change management undertaking, the “best intentions” should be the norm right at the “thought” level. A professional practitioner of organizational development shared with me two fundamentals on the subject. First is the principle of the primacy of the thought “of best intentions” as a point to begin the process of becoming. Second is the principle of time as a continuum of the thought process rather than as a point in time independent from the thought.
Guiding principles, practices and benchmarks have to be determined and put into subsequent applications or actions. Objectivity, accountability, transparency and expediency should take precedence. The designated key personalities who will lead managing the winds and riding the waves of change will encounter lots of challenges.
Expectations derived from evaluating the past and the present paving the way forward have to be met within a reasonable timeline. The journey of effecting change is a shared experience among the leadership and the members of the organization as well as the stakeholders.
Indeed, change management is not an easy undertaking.
Conchita L. Manabat is the President of the Development Center for Finance, a joint undertaking of the FINEX Research & Development Foundation, Inc. and the Virata School of Business of the University of the Philippines.