Hello and here I am again with another Pop’s Perspective. As I sat down to write this, the 12th of our Perspective series, my thoughts turned to the subject of “Change”. I think that many of us may be so caught up in our daily routines and ways of life that we may overlook the very existence of and importance of change.

For just a moment let’s look at some definitions of the word “Change”. Here are but a few for us to consider:
• To make the form, nature, content of something different from what it is or from what it may become if left alone.
• To transform or convert (usually followed by into).
• To substitute another for existing.
• To become different, altered or modified.
• A variation or deviation of current state.
• To undergo transformation, transition or substitution.

The old saying that when someone asks, “what’s new” and the answer given is “same old/same old” or “some things never change” is really not true at all. Change surrounds us daily but we may not recognize nor appreciate that fact. We may change the time we arise in the morning, we change our clothes from yesterday, we listen to local and world wide economic and political changes, we recognize that the weather is/has changed, seasons change, our health changes, we make career changes, friends and family change, eating habits change, our weight changes, our golf handicaps change and on and on. So what do we or should we do to accept and “manage” change?

One of the first things that needs to be done is to recognize that change is going to happen, whether or not we like it or support it. I found over the years that I was in the business world where change is inevitable those who recognized the importance of change were the people who succeeded. As an example, during my banking career where I was associated with the “back office” or operations segment of the business, and later as a “Transformation” team leader for a consulting assignment in a foreign country, we were constantly involved with change. These events happened due to new processes/procedures/technology, new markets and products, innovative processes for customer service, new service areas or outlets and last but far from least – mergers and acquisitions.
And to manage those constant changes we needed two major things to be in place:
1. Staff buy-in to the change.
2. An active and formal “Change Management” Process.

Addressing the first, staff buy-in, I found that those people who accepted and supported change were the people who contributed heavily to its success. Sure, people who question the need or process of a change were important. But the two issues that used to drive me crazy were:

1. Why are we instituting this change? We’ve been doing “it” this way for years.
2. Those who complained bitterly about the change but offered no better solution.

I did find that those who supported change, challenged change by asking pertinent questions and offering alternate solutions were the ones who were able to succeed and ultimately drive change (and themselves) to success.

And the second extremely important ingredient in driving successful change, the Change Management process, was also a key ingredient to success. To insure that changes were thoroughly and smoothly implemented we found that having a formal and structured approach was absolutely necessary. The focus of a good Change Management process needed to be on the wide impacts of change, particularly on the people involved or affected and how they move from current situations to the new ones.

In closing, I would like to leave you with a few pertinent quotes (at least from Pop’s Perspective!) regarding change:
• From John F. Kennedy: “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or recent are certain to miss the future.”

• From George Bernard Shaw: “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their mind cannot change anything.”

• From Nathaniel Branden: “The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”

• From Robert Kennedy: “Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies.”

• And one of my favorites – From Reinhold Niebuhr: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

And it is my firm belief that if we do not recognize change, adapt to change, accept and contribute positively to change we may just miss the boat and life will continue on without us.
Thanks for letting me share yet another of “Pops Perspective” and watch for more in the coming months.