Towards a Culture of Change

The one thing that is constant in our life is change.

CULTURE OF CHANGE

We change constantly. Sometimes in directions, we cannot control. Effortless, without signs the most of the times, we become a different person day by day. The changes in our society are constant and continuing. And with them, want it or not, we change as people, persons, roles, professionals, trying to cope to the alterations of our environment. We naturally move towards a culture of change.

That, though, is NOT the problem.

The Problem With Change

The problem arises when these changes affect us, without have a saying about them. Most people let things passing by, without notice. They usually rely on the famous plasticity of the brain, to cope and adjust to the new situations.

Right or wrong, we cannot have a total control in every stimulus, information, incentives we receive. At least not all the time. But we can have some control, sometimes, by using specialized filters (to safeguarding some stimuli and information of importance for us) and by training our minds to cope successfully with the external and internal changes the outside environment, may cause to our usual way of living, doing and thinking.

These moments, usually, define our character. Choosing is the act of selecting an item from all the others that surround us. It is an act of will. And for that has a gravity and an importance that defines the who we are.

Selecting to live in a changing environment is exactly such as the swimming. In the sea, we can have control on the moves we can make, we are responsible for them and we can compensate the changes in the environment (if any).

This is an analogy of our era. Too much information overload, tasks to be dealt with, constants that suddenly have been changed, little room for reactions or maneuvers, less valid guiding direction for navigating us in a more solid ground.

All the time we have to re-align with the new conditions and compensate for the changes and the effects these bring to our life. Is a mess, isn’t. Or not?

There are always guiding rules if chosen to be applied, to be used effectively in our business or in our personal life. They involved the development of a culture that can incorporate, propagate and disseminate the possible changes.

What Culture Is?

A Culture of Change In Our Professional Life

For instance, in our professional life, if you want to build, employ and sustain a new culture at an organizational level (as a leader, as an employer, or simply as a concerned worker [!!![) you should be determined to:

  1. Analyze the new trends and select your team or a close group of peers, the best alternative trends or mini-cultures to serve best in any future situation as generators of valid ideas, concepts, memes, incentives, and approaches. Select the most suitable trends for reinforcing, and ignore the ones that, at present, are not look very promising (perhaps they need more time, in order to reach a mature state, but in any event, you cannot focus on that now). Develop a sense of urgency and an environment in which the new cultural changes can address old problems successfully.
  2. Based on this analysis, engage the most appropriate shareholders and key players (interested parties, leadership teams, management & marketing teams, close communities, the society (perhaps, hopefully !!!) etc) in the collaboration development and implementation of a new vision, reflecting the desired future culture and outcomes for all the involving parties, as well as for society as whole. In this level, you should positively affect a desired behavioral change, reflecting the new direction, to all the people involved in the procedure (If they cannot adopt the new changes, it would be made extremely difficult to propagate the model to others, for lack of clarity, trust, and integrity).
  3. Develop a new storyline and stories that would embody the vision and would answer all the pains caused by the old situations. Pitch this story in all possible and reachable channels your group can manage. Along with that you should develop, outsource or commission new banners, signs, symbols, logos, etc that would express, embody and present the new situation (as for instancecreating a new branding, to serve the advancement of the new cultural changes, in a tangible and pictorial way).
  4. Set the strategy and tactics, goals, objectives, values, stages, services, products, etc to serve this vision and the supporting story in the long run (i.e. the operational stream that would be able to lead towards the new foreseen future) and design/select the systems, the approaches, the procedures the methodologies and the appropriate tools that would help the implementation of the new vision and sustain its growth towards larger audiences and over expanded time periods. You should make sure that your vision, strategy, goals, and values are aligned with the behavior and objectives you have set in the process. Initiate and develop mechanism, schemes, and structures for:
    • Practice and propagate the new culture, case studies, stories, logos, symbols, etc to all possible levels of the organization, society, company, etc. Share, communicate and cultivate any new behavioral change derived by the practicing of the new culture.
    • Build solid structures of support and communities that would engage and empower more people in coping with their problems based on the new premises have been initialized by the adoption of the new cultures.
    • Layout new learning mechanisms that would train and educate the people in the new constantly changing environment and in the ways they can adapt to that
    • Effect more desirable changes, if you can, and abandon old habits, no longer serve.
    • Create new communities or practice and support, societal structures, companies, organizations directed outwards, aiming at supporting the people to their goals within the new environment

Finally, measure the results and the outcomes and collaboratively refine the proposed model as appropriate.

Embracing a Culture of Change

At a personal level, embracing a culture of change is something much more valuable than mere dealing with the change or simply absorbing and compensate its repercussions. Essentially it means you have:

  • To set up some anchor points for future reference (values, directions, etc)
  • To act in a pro-active manner and remove the reaction habits of older conditions no longer exist
  • To evaluate and re-evaluate the changes not only for compensation but for gaining control over them as well
  • To assume the responsibility of our actions (in their total effect)
  • To own your future
  • To Learn new ways and disseminate them via all reachable communication channels, in order to propagate them throughout the society
  • To educate more people about living in a new constantly changing environment and in the ways they can use for adapting, adopting and effectively use the new conditions
  • To effect more desirable changes, if you can, and abandon old habits no longer serve.
  • To finally assume the driver’s seat, at least in your life, if not in the life of others

All these, are approaches that can support effectively the adoption of a culture of change either on professional or on a personal level. Whether it could be implemented or not, rely entirely on the possible outcomes we/you want to bring in our.your life and in our/your society.

Do you think that you could live within a culture of constant change or not? This approach can or would serve you as a tool for coping with the future changes or do you think that there are more approaches to consider? Please comment.

    Takis Athanassiou is an IT Consultant, Blogger, Trainer & Writer, active in the areas of leadership, business consulting, e-Learning and social media. He aims at the development of people, business and assets! You can check out his blog, add him in Google+ and follow him on Twitter.

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