Monday, December 26, 2016

At What Point Do We Accept Change?

“I know this is new and different, but in six months to a year from now, you will be used to this…”

I have used this line numerous times over the past 20 years.  As a project manager, the fear of change amongst the user community always looms large when changing software or processes.  I use a variant of the line above to put them at ease, or to remind them of how comfortable they are now from the last major update/change.  The fact is, we live in a world of constant change, and some of us are agents of change.  Amazingly enough, as the changes are accepted, people forget the pains they went through in the process.

This is not limited to the work environment either.  Anyone involved in a volunteer organization, trying to balance existing members with attracting new members has to be aware of changes in the population and public attitudes.  Steering a volunteer organization into the future is not easy.  By nature, everyone involved is a volunteer, so there is no concept of a “corporate mandate” that everyone has to follow.  In a corporation, top management directive helps, because everyone is expected to follow along.  Without a corporate sponsor and a steering committee, in a volunteer environment, you have to appeal to the membership.  Once you have “buy-in,” the same line can be used.

At home, in our personal lives, having children who you are involved with brings about changes in multiple ways (parent-child, between spouses, involvement with next/future generations).  There used to be the image, which was popularized that once you reach a certain age you got to sit on your front porch, in a rocking chair, sip lemonade and watch the world go by.  I cannot, at this point in my life, see myself sitting on a porch all day long.  Change, in a household way, seems natural.  Most of us expect to find someone to spend our lives with, have children, etc.  These are active parts of our lives and we do not “fight” the changes and accept them, in some cases, daily, weekly or monthly.  I know that the people who reach the rocking chair age, push back on that point.  I heard one lady state, “This is not where I want to be, but this is where I am at.” 

We are heading into a new year, a time where we sit back and reflect on the past year, the changes that have impacted us and put some thought into what we would like the upcoming year to look like.  Many New Year’s resolutions include some form of change.  Be diligent about the goals you set, and remember, when it comes to change, “I know this is new and different, but in six months to a year from now, you will be used to this…”