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There is an exercise I like to do as part of a kick-off meeting to any project. While you are sitting there reading this, cross your arms. Now cross them the opposite way. It’s funny how it should be easy, but it will feel a little uncomfortable and awkward. This is what implementing a new process or system feels like. Uncomfortable at first, but the more you do it; the more you will feel comfortable with it. This is just a small exercise to get people to start thinking about change. Change is against our instincts. Our instincts tell us to resist change. We do things without knowing in order to be repetitive and not deal with change. How often do you take the same route to and from work or the grocery store? How often do you sit in the same seat in a training or a meeting? The problem is that with the speed of innovation in technology, we now live in an environment of constant change.
The ability of a company to adapt and innovate is reliant on the ability of their people to embrace change. Change Management is often forgotten when IT projects are undertaken. Companies do not want to pay for the additional cost of Change Management in addition to what may be an already costly IT project. Effective Change Management is all about understanding what underlies resistance to change, therefore constructing an approach on how to deal with it.
Ignoring Change Management may have severe consequences which are not only a people issue but can be detrimental to a business. There have been many examples of companies who embraced change and succeeded and those that resisted and failed. Kodak Eastman invented the camera and was the company that led the industry until the 80’s and 90’s when a series of bad decisions and resistance to change almost destroyed them. The companies that will be successful in the future are the ones that embrace change as a continuous part of their culture. Change is no longer a singular event. Change must be driven from the top down with the acceptance within the company at all levels.