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You are not a tree. Or are you?

Change is a good thing; within reason and with the right process in place.

By Greg Pritchett, Managing Director at Marval Software

American entrepreneur Jim Rohn once said “If you don't like how things are, change it! You're not a tree”. This very to the point (and slightly funny) quote has been circulated in the market as a great example of how simple change can be.

As Rohn very successfully highlighted, in many cases, change is just a matter of decision. Do you need to change things? Then, just go ahead with it already! Nothing complicated about that. Why is change management such a hurdle for most organisations, then?

Whilst we are not trees, we are not feathers either. Organisations have structures, established procedures and –most importantly- people: People who are set in their ways and can become very skeptical when confronted with new processes. Change can be very upsetting for individuals, teams or whole departments, if introduced abruptly and hastily. This is the reason why change management can be “an alarming complication that should be avoided at any cost”.

What many of us do not realise is that change is not a constant thing. It won’t last for ever. In most cases, change is about introducing and adopting a new way of doing things; either new technologies, new tools and procedures or new culture or all of the above. Change is the development of a new process, which is supposed to become an integrated part of our normal operations. Since it is expected to stay with us for some time, it requires good preparation, thorough planning and efficient management, in order to be successful. It requires a meticulous process. And, of course, the right mindset to embrace the challenge and respond to it methodically.

Indeed, we are not trees; but we have roots that keep us together, as individuals, societies and organisations. Having roots is a great thing. It means that we share a history, ethos and similar values. Roots feed our aspirations and make us unique in the way we work and collaborate with other organisations. Roots enable us to expand our branches and reach our fullest potential, while we explore new and exciting paths. We just need a good process in place which will help us establish a new norm. And that’s what we call “effective change management”, Mr Rohn.

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