“Turn and face the strange” – How 2020 is redefining what change is and can be
There is no doubting that the very concept of change has transformed in recent weeks and months. As a society, we’ve gone through an absolute tectonic shift in the way we go about every aspect of our lives. Especially the way we work.
Pre-Covid19, most employers would have been forgiven for believing that these kinds of changes weren’t possible. They’ve become to expect resistance to change. Phrases like “this is the way we’ve always done things” are common rhetoric.
Change is historically met with resistance and this comes from both sides. The logistical aspects of driving even minor change can seem to daunting to those at the top. A common fear of change from below can see people avoid it at all costs.
A fear of change is common, even whilst simultaneously recognising the benefits. It’s motivated by a number of different factors. Many fear change because it increases the chance of failure. In some instances, it’s a case of pride. In others, a desire to be left alone and avoid blame or retribution. Paradoxically, for others it comes down to a fear of success and what success might bring with it – more change, more responsibility, more work. The unknown elements of change also have a big role to play in people’s aversion to and fear of it. The possibilities of discomfort, stress or pain can be anxiety-inducing and debilitating.
All this being said, if you now asked most employers how their people had adapted to the changes and whilst it’s unlikely that many would say the transition has been seamless, most would likely say that it has been positive. It should also have given them a new perspective on how their people cope with significant change – however unavoidable or enforced it might have been.
Have these strange times brought the barriers of change down? Will those previously afraid or nervous of change now view it in a different light?
At MVMNT, we’ve started talking a lot about ‘new beginnings’. The term ‘new normal’ wasn’t sitting right with us. Our approach to change has a huge amount to do with that. ‘New normal’ struck us as something that was happening to us and we couldn’t control, whilst a new beginning is a decision and an opportunity. If the concept of change and our ability to adapt and respond to it have been redefined by Covid19 then with it comes a host of new opportunities. We can now do things that we might not have thought possible before. If someone asked you before this pandemic what you’d change if you wouldn’t be met with resistance then what would you have said? I’m by no means claiming that any change initiative you implement won’t be resisted. But, with a new perspective on what is possible, maybe overcoming that resistance and taking the plunge isn’t as daunting as it once was?
It’s likely that significant change will never be easy, simple or straightforward. However after everything we’ve gone through, we’ve proved to ourselves that we’re capable of dealing with even the most extreme circumstances. We’re a tough, resilient bunch and capable of a lot more than we give ourselves credit for. So, as the great man said, it’s time to “turn and face the strange” – you’ve got this.