Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I survived

My workshop went well – I survived with my life in tact.

On a serious point, many managers in the National Health Service are under all sorts of pressures at the moment with radical changes happening and no guarantees for their future job security. That however sounds a bit like the rest of the business world to me.

I believe the NHS is still ‘over managed’ but that does not stop me feeling sorry for individual managers who are trying to do a good job against an uncertain backcloth.

Managers in the NHS have to change because the world is changing around them and one request to individual managers in my talk is that they become ‘an enemy of inertia.’

In other words; firstly to accept change; then to welcome change; and then actively seek and create change.

Needless to say many managers disagree with me about this and that is fine. I take the view that the world is changing all around the NHS and the status quo is not even an option nowadays so why not try to do something rather than wait for something to be done to you.


Mike Gardner said...

I tell my students (factory workers, managers, techs, etc.) that I HATE change. The only kind of change I want more of is the kind that jingles in my pocket! And that is exactly the reason I am qualified to teach them how to embrace change. Don't give me some smiley glad-hander who claims "Oh, I love change, it's so refreshing (challenging, invigorating, whatever...)." There is no authenticity in that attitude. Change is very difficult and people want a guide they can trust as having experienced the same emotions as they do.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Mike - I agree we all dislike change. I am like most people and I too get 'uncomfortable' with change but I cannot say that I 'hate' change. Change means ‘difference’ but it does not mean ‘bad’.

Like you I cannot stand the ‘change junkies’ we all meet. My main point here is that burying our heads in the sand about change inside the NHS is not helpful for the individual or the organisation and ultimately for patients.

Anonymous said...

I like change if it's a change I have worked for and have control over.

I hate change that is imposed thoughtlessly and without consultation from on high.

At the risk of sounding like a 'smiley glad-hander', however I do think that most changes have some sort of an opportunity as an outcome-even if it's just an opportunity to take stock and move on. Once its happened we have to live with what we've got and work with it. I look back at times when I spent hours moaning about a stupid ill-thought out top-down change instead of facing it and getting on with the job/seeing the opportunity, and now realise the moaning was pointless.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi tomjam

I remember well in 1983 that wearing seat belt in cars was introduced by law. There was loads of opposition at the time. It soon became ‘normal’ and now, many years later; the thought of travelling in my car without wearing a seat belt horrifies me.

I am not a person who ‘looks for change’ but when change presents itself then I believe we have to at least keep an open mind and give it a go.

Charles Handy explains it well with his sigmoid curve about change. Professor Handy says that the time to change is when things are going well. I believe complacency can set in very easily when things are comfortable.

I think Mike makes a great point about ‘taking people with you’ in times of change. Great mentors in my life have always encouraged me to look at change as an opportunity rather than a threat. Yes of course it is difficult to accept change but in my experience the rewards are usually better than the fears I had.

Anonymous said...

Hi Trevor

I am aware that often before a change actually happens it is easy to get into 'catastrophising' about how terrible it's going to be.

I had a bad experience of being managed by someone about ten years ago and imminent changes have created an outside possibility that I might soon be working under that person again, and a certain possibility that we will be working in close proximity to each other.

My initial reaction was that this is a potential disaster. I spouted off to close confidants about how "I don't want this person to judge me based on how I was ten years ago, because, I've moved on and developed and changed" and then it struck me that I was assuming that this person may have also developed and changed, and I should give her the benefit of the doubt. It could be better than I think

Anonymous said...

P.S. Sorry my last post should read that I had assumed this person had NOT developed and changed. If I had half a brain I could take on the world!!

Trevor Gay said...

Hi tomjam

Amazing co-incidence - I had a good friend 15 years ago at least who happened to be a counsellor working in mental health care. He once reflected to me my habit of ‘catastrophising’ things. He was right. Until today when you used it in your comment no one else had ever mentioned that word to me! It is a wonderful word that captures a bad habit of mine. I like to think these days I am slightly less prone to catastrophising.

You are so right about not making judgments about bosses based on past experience. I understand your anxieties and I would be exactly the same until I had reflected like you did and realised the other person will also have moved on. I like an expression of Nicky Gumbel ‘Don’t let your past define your future’ and that could be applied to this relationship. I hope things work out well if you two ‘cross paths’ again and that you will be able to start anew. I’ve had bosses in my past that I would happily work for again and some that I would not but who knows, if we were thrown together now – maybe it would work.

Let me know how it goes.

Anonymous said...

Hi Trevor

Thanks for your encouraging response. I really like the Nicky Gumbel quote.

Perhaps you and I can start the first branch of Catastrophisers Anoonymous-like you I am gradually getting out of the habit-one day at a time and all that!!

Anonymous said...

I have just read this and it seemed to fit the whole 'catastrophising' theme perfectly.

"Life is very short. The moments that we now experience are quickly gone forever; we'll never see them again. Each day that passes takes with it thousands upon thousands of such moments. How will we spend the little interval that's left to us? Will we spend it spinning out thoughts about how terrible life is? Such thoughts are not even real. We will have such thoughts, but we can know that we're thinking them and not get caught in them." Charlotte Joko Beck

A bit heavy for a Thursday night,I know, but very apt all the same.

All the Best

Trevor Gay said...

Wonderful quote - I like it ... also us two as founder members of 'CA' sounds good!! ..thankls for your comment stomjam ..keep 'em coming