Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ability to embrace change

When I was a kid, teachers used to talk about "A-type and B-type" personalities. A-type had to overachieve and get everything perfect. B-type was willing to go with the flow.  Generally, it was assumed that A would be more successful than B because of their innate drive. But this didn't go far enough for our workplace quest for self-awareness and understanding the dynamic in change adoption.

Now there's a broader array of tools to understand how folks think and work together - MBTI, HBDI, DiSC, etc. And yet nothing I've been able to find that looks at a person's ability to assimilate/adopt/accept change.

I'm not sure if that's because change is constant and the scale of change fluctuates; thus our ability to deal with change fluctuates with it. Or if it's all in the timing? Or the specific workplace/team atmosphere? Or if it really just comes down to a person's philosophy and awareness around embracing change in all its forms (personal to professional)?

Certainly, folks persuing mentoring appear to be more open to change. (And yet we've all had friends and/or mentorees who just wanted validation of where they were vs. exploring where they might want to go.)

There are tons of online forums that approach change as a mix of behaviour and process to be mastered. Checklists, books, diagrams and decision trees abound. Talk of leadership, change management, followership, champions and resistors, etc. becomes noise when we see how we have each played all those roles at different points for different reasons.

What if there is no checklist? No magic bullet? No one theory or approach fits all? What if embracing change is like the elusive "motivation" discussion: we can't force change; only lay out the choices. Carrots and sticks only build surface adoption.

What if openness to change comes down to a person's willingness to participate or not and the rapport held with the person/ team proposing the change? ...which aligns the success of a change with networks/networking, relationships and connections.

I don't know the answer; I just know there is not one.

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