Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Constant change is here to stay

Another cracking quote from 'Unstoppable' -

"After you've done a thing for two years, you should look at it carefully. After five years, look at it with suspicion. After ten years, throw it away and start all over." - Alfred E. Perlman

In management and leadership settings in business I would endorse this statement fully - and I would say make it far less than 10 years before throwing it away and starting all over - more like 5 years maximum in my view.


In love and relationships I don't agree with the statement at all. Finding someone special that you want spend the rest of our life with means for ever.


Anonymous said...

Why can't we have a "love" or long-term relationship with a company? Why does everyone espouse the constant change mantra in the matter of work? Nobody knows, but everybody preaches it. These days a person who changes jobs the way most of us change our underwear is espoused as some sort of free agent hero of the new world order. Look at everyone's fair-haired uber-hero Tom Peters. All he says is "destroy destroy destroy."


Any fool can cut and run when things get tough or a little dull. Real leaders stick it out and improve the situation from within.

Change is great, but only where warranted. What we are worshipping these days is change for the sake of change. Or, "mindless change." To my mind, that's pretty counter-productive.

And look, I TEACH change and change management, among other things, so I should be in favor of this constant cycle of build and destroy--but I am not. I have seen too many good businesses and good people fail and die because they blindly followed the change mantra. Real change, productive and positive change, requires more than running around a stage frothing at the mouth and screaming "destroy your business!" It requires thoughtful discussion, inclusion, planning, foresight, and a host of other boring and difficult skills and tools.

And that's my rant on mindless change. Thanks for the space Trevor.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Mike

I am 100% with you Mike on ‘mindless change.’ I agree that is pointless and only damages people.

On the other hand too much time spent on 'planning' change in my experience often means that by the time one gets geared up and ready to implement the change, something else has cropped up that means the change you plan is already out of date. That is how fast things move nowadays in my view

I like you teach change management and I am certainly not a change junkie either. I love the concept of slow deliberate and thoughtful change processes. We all pray for those days to come back again. I fear they never will.

There is something in all this about ‘Nero fiddling while Rome was burning’ don't you think?

If we cannot embrace change and move quickly I fear the business may simply 'go under' while we are all very busy planning changes.

Great discussion my friend

Anonymous said...

What is it exactly that we are trying to keep up with in the first place? What is going to pass us by? Successful businesses require pretty much the same old tried-and-true principles they alwyas have: good product, good service, good marketing, good leadership. Let's look at Dr. Peters again, (sure, I use him when he agrees with me and abuse him when he doesn't ;-)) who says to "innovate or die." Innovation is much different than trying to keep up with what others are doing. Keeping up with the Joneses is an old American saying and it means you never get ahead by watching what your neighbor is doing.

I don't advocate analysis paralysis or over-planning, either. I just hate the "change or die" mantras coming out of people's mouths all the time. Sure, let's throw out everything that made us successful and start over with a whole new set of products or ideas. Just because that's what the "in" thing to do is.

I agree change, adaptation, evolution, and innovation are vital to succes. They must be leavened with thoughtful planning, wisdom, and we must keep a constant eye on the goal.

Trevor Gay said...

I think we are agreeing Mike :-)

I worked for 35 years in healthcare and saw so many people who were unable to cope with the changes that happened. And yet those changes were very infrequent when one really looks at changes in our lives generally.

I agree that thoughtful, carefully planned change is what we all want. My feeling is that the world nowadays is just so fast that we have to welcome change, embrace change and look ahead with that positive mindset.

I am just like the next person when it comes to change - I need to be convinced it can be beneficial to me personally but I have increasingly found as I have got older that change is often good - even if we are not sure about it initially.

Great banter my friend :-)

Anonymous said...

And we all know the best change is that which you receive back from your dollar, or pound. "Spare" change is my favorite type, or "loose" change--especially that special type of change found under the furniture cushions.

Trevor Gay said...

I just love it when the discussion reaches new heights of intellectual debate Mike - I love finding loose change too

There is nothin quite like that feeling when you find money in the pocket of those trousers you haven't worn for a while is there? :-)