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Identifying and dealing with rapid change is basic to the continued growth and profitability of all organizations. Change has become an integral part of the management process. We must accept change and continually strive to use it for our benefit or by default it will automatically work against us (either we manage it or it will manage us)!
The complexity of today’s (let alone tomorrow’s) world has radically increased our relative inter-dependency (individually, organizationally, nationally, internationally), most recently demonstrated by the devastating effect on the current world (and its future) by a heretofore unknown Iranian religious leader. But, constantly, there are numerous (although less dramatic) examples of social, political, economic and technological events that affect us all.
A research scientist most aptly reflected the acceleration of change affecting computer related products with “if it works, it’s obsolete” (something better is on the drawing board)! All this demonstrates the crucial need for the manager of the future – the “Manager of Change”. What are the attributes of the change manager that will distinguish him from his ancestral colleagues that have brought us contemporary society?
· Intellectual Breadth. He knows traditional technical skills are not enough and he is in touch with the broad spectrum (multi-dimensional). He is not pre-occupied with internal conditions as he considers all factors (external as well as internal) that bear on his performance. He will be involved with several external (and non-conventional by today’s standards) activities and be a voracious reader of many fields who “cross-fertilizes” all that he learns.
· Social Sensitivity. Aware of the macro and micro social environment and the related implications for his organization.
· Political Sophistication. Aware of external and internal political realities of life and the ability to harness this knowledge and power to benefit the organization he represents.
· Has Learned to Learn. Enthusiastically views continuing education and learning as a fundamental task. He has made the commitment to grow and thus avoid stagnation.
· Motivational Ability. Able to motivate others to accept and implement desired change. Knows the strengths and capabilities of the individuals within the organization. Able to establish and foster a “climate for change and success.” Impatient and always working to achieve personal and organizational potential.
· Perceptivity and Poise. Has the intuitive ability to assimilate large amounts of information and relate it to the organization in a positive way. Is not overwhelmed by a crisis or the information explosion. Keeps his head and helps the organization do the same.
· Farsightedness. Not governed solely by the short run. (Can operate today with an eye to the future). Has developed multiple scenario possibilities for his organization and continually monitors and analyzes the organizational environment.
· Understands Change and How It Affects People. He is not overcome by change. He can deal with it. He also has the ability to reduce others’ resistance (due to parochial self-interest, misunderstanding, lack of trust, low tolerance for change, etc.) to change by using creative change strategies.
Change is here to stay! It must be dealt with! The future belongs to those managers who are not only able to cope with change but who are capable of initiating change in a positive, opportunistic and aggressive way! Can we develop ourselves and assist our clients to assume the required role?