People often talk about change management, onceived as the process of activating and managing individual, organizational and/or cultural changes. Change is at the basis of any vital and systematic event and allows people and organizations alike to constantly challenge themselves, plan new solutions and alternatives, get in contact with and find ways to express ever-new talents.
During my workshops I often happen to meet people that, when asked to imagine a future change, launch themselves in statements like “I’d like to change company”, “I’d like to start a business of my own”, “I’d like to leave Italy” … and I stick up my nose.
Now, I would like to clarify that I intimately cheer for change, I like it and actively look for it. Moreover, I’ve never thought of myself as someone who favors the corporate sector, I do not defend supposed companies’ positions a priori.
However, when I hear those statements, I work towards allowing these people to understand that real changes are the ones we can make within our present context, not in a longed-for (or imaginary) future.
Why am I saying this? I think there are many different reasons:
- Your company, your reality, is the one that challenges you today. Changing might mean escaping, telling ourselves that problems are generated by others. This way we may run the risk of incurring the same mistakes in the next company, or in the next relationship because we did not face our limitations and understand our areas for improvement.
- Dreaming or announcing the intention of a radical change is a good way for remaining still: actually, there are thousands of reasons to wait, to choose not to walk such a revolutionary, and at the same time risky and unknown, road straight away…and so you keep on hold, waiting for Godot in limbo that tastes like morass.
- Remaining in your present context is often an act of respect, acceptance and gratitude. In my opinion, these skills (learning to belong, learning to be grateful) need to be trained and developed because they are at the basis of reliability and the ability to develop positive alliances both in life and work, in long-established as well as in new relationships.
- Your present context is the best place to experiment new alternatives of the self and test their impact. Changing context will often allow you to express something new (also because you are not subject to labelling by people who don’t know you) but you will also need to apply such novelty to already-known contexts if you want to say you truly master it.
- our present context is precious because it forces you to train yourself to look at already-known situations with fresh, new eyes. If you already know what your boss is going to say, how your colleague is going to react, what that collaborator is going to do…you will only end up feeding self fulfilling prophecies. You can learn to make new investments in trust, openness and clarity of communication instead; this way you’ll be the protagonist of an “unhoped-for” change.
A change management is ecologic if it’s sustainable and if it takes into account the starting point. On the contrary, quoting George Orwell: “Every revolutionary opinion draws part of its strength from a secret conviction that nothing can be changed”. This is also true for those companies where big changes are announced but, in the end, everything stays the same.
I made many changes in my life and I can call myself a change management expert! Sometimes it had been an escape and a defeat. Some other times I made a courageous, useful choice, one that opened me to new discoveries. However, I’ve also learnt that every context I have left, still remains in my system, strong and influential. And I’ve also learnt to respect this, not to forget or deny it.
Like in the systemic and family psychology approach by Bert Hellinger it is acknowledged that no member can ever be excluded from the system he belongs to, neither in physical actions, nor in the memory.
So, if you’re changing company, family or nation, remember that it is only by respecting and keeping in your heart what you are leaving, that you’ll be truly free.
| Photo credit: Maria Josè Cinti