Thursday, August 12, 2010

Change is [NOT] Good

I saw a sign today at work that said, "Change is Good".
What a load of BS!

I love to change things. I have a personality type that insists that there is an improvement for everything. This leads me to change them. I am not against change. The Facetious CIO's business card reads "Agent of Change". I am a facilitator of change, but I cannot agree with the happy little sign that reads, "Change is Good"

Change is the process of letting go of the familiar. Change is often likened to the five stage grieving process:

  1. Denial and Isolation
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

Do any of these things sound good to you? I think not. Change is often a painful process but once it's completed, we are better people and the change is hopefully one for the better.

I weight too much. I need to change this. Since there is no magic pill that will make my waistline smaller, I need to change my behavior to reach my goal. This means increasing the amount of activity and decreasing my food intake. Will this be good? The pain felt in my legs after a run on the treadmill and the decrease in the amount of my favorite foods will not be good. At least, it wouldn't be good that night as I try to fall asleep with a pain in my knees and a grumbling stomach. I would argue that this is not good. However, as a result of my change in behavior, I will have more energy and better fitting clothes. So, in this example, change is not good, but the result of change is fantastic.

How about another example, smokers. Quit cold turkey? That's a good change right? Not at all, it will be terrible, painful ordeal. No longer smoking after 1 year is awesome. The result is good. The change was not.

In IT, I find a lot of people with similar personality types to mine, the improvers. Yet, they don't realize that 95% of the population are not improvers. They dislike the change process and with good reason. My role as an agent of change is to act as a counselor to help people through the difficult change process.

Please consider these thoughts the next time a project comes along and someone suggests that staff will just have to "deal" with the change.

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