“We are navigating in permanent white water.” You’ve heard all the clichés. There is a basic element of truth behind these succinct and pithy sayings. The magnitude, speed, and frequency of the changes we face today have increased dramatically over the last decade. Global competitive forces, changing demands of customers, and emerging technologies are some of the reasons why. If organizations cannot respond quickly to these business conditions, they will lose out to agile organizations that embrace change and adapt quickly.
Facts About Change
People both fear and seek change. Change is a highly emotional process, often described by experts as a “psychological process”. Research shows that 20% of people will be open to change while 80% will initially be resistant. This is due to the fact that what is unfamiliar and unpredictable often creates apprehension, self-doubt and fear.
Change is certain…progress is not.
Navigating change involves resilience and agility. Many say that these two skills are the most critical skills necessary in the 21st century.
Resilience = The ability to bounce back, to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched. The ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.
Agility = The quality or state of being agile; marked by ready ability to move with quick, easily, and with grace. Nimbleness; mentally quick and resourceful.
Personal Agility is the ability to be flexible and productive during times of change, and to expect and welcome change as an opportunity to improve oneself and the workplace. Personal agility assumes resilience.
Organizational Agility is having the attitudes, processes, and energy to execute new business strategies quickly and effectively. Organizational agility assumes the ability to maintain resilience, that is, to stay productive and move forward in times of change.
“When the rate of change outside the organization is faster than the rate of change
inside the organization, the end is near.” – Jack Welch
Individual Change Response and Versatility
How does one demonstrate these abilities? Here are a few examples from successful organizations:
- Demonstrates ability to adapt to and initiate positive change
- Takes on progressively more challenging and responsible assignments
- Is innovative, creative and flexible