Current Adelaide time:
          

Article: When 'Change' changes

When 'Change' changesA can of worms

by Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D.

I was speaking to employees of a utility company in Southern California and, because they wanted the entire work force to attend, I spoke once in the morning and repeated the program in the afternoon. At the first session I had just finished talking about uncertainty and the changing nature of change when an audience member asked, "If everything is uncertain, what happens to strategic planning? How can you make any plans for an unknown future?"

It was a good question, and I answered it by using the two sessions as an example:

"I was hired to put on two identical programs today, but you and I both know that it is impossible for them to be identical even though I will use the same set of Power Point slides for both presentations. The differences will be determined by the makeup of the two audiences -- how many attend, what their energy level is, what questions they ask, maybe even what they had for lunch. And, of course, I too will be slightly different depending on my energy level and what I had for lunch, etc. I don't know how the afternoon session will be different, but I'm certain that the unexpected will happen."

What this means to me as I prepare for a program - and, more importantly, what it means to all of us as we prepare for the future - is that we have to set goals and make plans while taking into account a multitude of contingencies in a volatile environment. And then we have to understand that, despite our best efforts, the future may not play out the way we planned. We need to keep reorienting as conditions change -- frequently in ways we never anticipated. 

Some people are naturally better than others at coping with and adapting to a complex, fast-changing reality. These individuals take charge of change by remaining flexible and open to the unexpected.

A few years ago, at a management meeting in Canada for the Saskatchewan Government Insurance Company, an audience member approached me and said, "What I liked best about your speech was the part about the importance of personal flexibility to deal with change. That's because my father was the head of the Canadian prison system, and he developed a test that was the mark of the criminal mind. Would you like to hear about it?"

I said that I was very interested, so he continued, "It was really simple. My father would bring each prisoner into his office and sit across from him at a table that had two colored lights -- a red one and a green one. My father operated the lights from switches that were hidden under the table. The prisoners' task was simple -- when the red light flashed, they were to touch the red light, and when the green light went on, they were to touch the green. All the prisoners could do that just fine, but what none of them could do -- so predictably that my father referred to the trait as 'the mark of the criminal mind' -- was to see the red light flash and begin to move their hands in that direction, and then see the green light go on and alter course in time to touch the green light. "

The man waited for my reaction. "You see?" he said. "No flexibility. They couldn't commit to one action and then change course when appropriate. But of course, these were the criminals who'd been caught -- the ones who couldn't deviate from set plans even when things weren't working out."

The lesson this story highlights is that a constantly changing business environment requires organizations to create the capacity for rapid decision-making. It's also crucial that decisions are made in a way that keeps options open. A critical element in the health of any organism is robustness: the ability of a system to absorb small jolts. To create a robust organization, you must build flexibility and resilience into its foundation.

In your organization, strategies will be planned, announced, implemented, and then -- right in the middle of execution -- they will all too often have to be altered or aborted because of external changes. And you will be asked to commit to a course of action and, at the same time, stay flexible enough to alter behavior and attitude quickly to support a new direction.

Don't let the unexpected throw you. In these chaotic times, the trick is not to brace for the jolts of change, but to loosen up and learn how to roll with them. And, by the way, that's quite a trick!



Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D., is a consultant and keynote speaker who helps people thrive on change. She addresses association, government, and business audiences around the world. Carol is the author of ten business books, including "This Isn't the Company I Joined." Her latest book, "The Nonverbal Advantage: Secrets and Science of Body Language at Work," will be published in the spring of 2008.  For more information, contact Carol by phone: 510-526-1727, email: CGoman@CKG.com, or through her website: http://www.CKG.com.

 

Reports I have written:

Other articles by Carol on this site:

Leading change, one move at a time

Virtual worlds and communication

Nonverbal communication: What your office says about you

 

Measuring the impact and ROI of social media
Measuring the impact and ROI of social media - for Ark Group
Making social media work for your business
Making Social Media work for your business - for Ark Group
Social Media: the new business communication landscape
Social Media: The New Business Communication Landscape - for Ark Group
How to get started with podcasting in your organisation
How to get started with podcasting in your organisation - for Melcrum Publishing
How to use social media to solve critical internal communication issues
Contributing author to How to use social media to solve critical internal communication issues - for Melcrum Publishing

How to use social media to engage employees
Contributing author to How to use social media to engage employees - for Melcrum Publishing

Contributing author to How to communicate with hard-to-reach employees - for Melcrum Publishing

 

 

Have you subscribed to my weekly newsletter yet?

As a subscriber you get kept up-to-date on when new articles are added.

Twitter Mastery for Business - subscribe and it's yours for free!Subscribe now! and receive a free version of my $79 report, Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business.

It's the first in a series of reports I'm writing on how to master the various key elements of social media.

Each report is an-depth, step-by-step process that explains in clear, plain English how to master a particular social media tool and help your business communicate better for better business results.

Each report is easy to read, easy to implement and easy on the pocket -- just $79 per copy.

But as a new subscriber to my blog and newsletter, I'm giving you a copy of the free version of Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business report as a way of saying "thank you" for joining my community.

Please subscribe, then check for the email you will receive from me shortly after, because in the email will be details of how to download the report [1.2mb pdf]

Subscribe now!

Enter your Email


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz


If you would like to use any of the articles on this site that I have personally written (they will either have 'By Lee Hopkins' on them, or nothing at all) please feel free to do so as long as you include the following 'resource box' text and a link back to www.LeeHopkins.com:

"Lee Hopkins the author of over 130 articles on business communication, and is recognised world-wide as one of Australia's leading experts in online business communication, including Social Media or Web2.0 as it's also known.

To connect with him, please email him at Lee at LeeHopkins.com

Visit his site at www.LeeHopkins.com to find many more articles on business communication. He also blogs at www.LeeHopkins.net. Whilst there, why not pick up a complimentary copy of his 'Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business', which explains all about this latest seismic change to the business communication landscape!"

EzineArticles.com Platinum AuthorCreative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


Finally, if this site or any of the articles have been of any help to you, perhaps you'd like to say 'thank you' by throwing a few pennies my way. If so, please click on the button below and donate whatever you feel is appropriate. The payment is handled by PayPal and is extremely secure. Thanks.

 

 

 

Follow me on TwitterFollow me on FacebookFollow me on LinkedInFollow me on YouTubeFollow me on Google+

Subscribe

Subscribe to my newsletter now and be the envy of world presidents

Subscribe to my weekly business communication newsletter and receive a FREE version of my highly-regarded report, 'Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business' (that sells for $79)
Find out more...

 

Related material :

Twitter

Better Business Writing course

A 12-step plan to take you from Twitter newbie to Twitter supremo and grow your business in the process.

More details

 

Better Business Writing

Better Business Writing course

You’ve probably always wanted to improve your writing skills in your workplace, but perhaps there wasn't a training course around to help you.

Well, now there is.

More details

Turn Guesstimates into Estimates & close more sales!

Award-winning ProposalKit gives your clients the detailed price quote and proposal they need so YOU close more sales (and boost your bottom line!) Finally you can quote with accuracy, increasing your profitability and professionalism. ProposalKit is easy, customizable, proven, and downloadable now! http://www.proposalkit.com

Social Media White Paper
(3rd Edition)

Social Media book for free

Trevor Cook and I wrote a booklet to help our clients and friends come to grips with this new online phenomenon called 'Social Media' or 'Web2.0'. Now in its third edition, it is still being widely cited and is receiving lots of favourable comments.

Download your free copy now (pdf)

Find out more about it (opens new window)

Vodburner rocks!
Vodburner is my tool of choice for recording skype video calls, either for later podcasting or simply for my own record. Now that video is becoming more and more important, I can't imagine online life without it.
More about Vodburner...

What you say about Lee Hopkins:
 

"One of the best days I've spent with a man! "


"As a speaker, Lee and his alter ego in the guise of avatar 'Lee Laperriere' played a key role in making our virtual event in Second Life a success. Lee was well-researched, engaging and enthusiastic about the possibilities that virtual collaboration brings and his presentation showed that he had really thought about the needs of our audience"


"Wow - what a presentation, it went so well, thank you very much! Fantastic job! "


"Lindy and Lee, you were both brilliant and I'm very thankful and pleased for your efforts, it was excellent. Thank you. "


"One of Australia's leading public relations practitioners in the so-called new media"


"While I only had the pleasure of actually meeting Lee face-to-face several months ago, I have been aware of him in conference programs and through feedback from one of my team members for a while. Lee has an amazing and unique skill for managing the new media to support business outcomes"


"Oz's best social network strategist"


"As for Local Royalty, you really are a Superstar among the bloggers and blogosphere!"


"Lee Hopkins, one of Australia's most respected social media experts"


"Lee was very entertaining and knowledgeable. He demystified social media for me and he made me feel it IS possible."


"His enthusiasm is infectious - exciting stuff!"


"Excellent. A really fascinating insight from an engaging speaker."


"A very difficult topic but it was explained in a fantastically simple way."


"The Walkleys relies on the good will of Australia’s talented communicators to make events like these happen and I can’t thank you enough for taking time out from your heavy schedule to make the convention such a memorable event."


"The workshop was very useful in that it enabled us to directly relate what we learnt in the seminar to our business. Lee was very easy to relate to and he presented all the information in a way that was simple to understand."


"Informative and engaging - gave good overview of new on-line technologies and how they can be applied to businesses. Particularly valued the opportunity to have a separate session to look at the specific needs and potential uses for my own business."


"Great to talk to someone who is expert in their field and passionate."


"The ability to interact one on one with Lee, as well as seeing new technologies and how they can be easily implemented into current business processes [was great]"


"Great. Lee was very engaging and presented info in easy to understand language and examples. Use of music, video, PowerPoint etc keep contents fun and educational. Great stuff!"


“Great! Even I could understand and appreciate the content. Excellent examples, wonderful presentation. I’m going back to share with my team. Thank you. "


“Lee was a great facilitator and his energy and passion for social media was evident."

“Excellent, enthusiastic presenter who is right into what he is talking about. Walking the talk. Just the right amount of info about the different topics. Not too geeky. Strong emphasis on how the tools can assist effective business communication. Relaxed friendly atmosphere. The workshop opened lots of doors, stimulating. I’m strongly encouraged to try things out. Many thanks.”


“Lee was great – knowledgeable, enthusiastic, generous in sharing his expertise. I liked the demonstrations."


"Great Workshop... helped me crystalise my thoughts on social media and now I feel ready to develop the strategy and make use of this great new medium"


Would you like me to run a workshop in-house for YOUR company?

Contact me to discuss how we can bring your company into this new and exciting communication universe.

View many of the presentations I have given over at Slideshare

View leehopkins's profile on slideshare

Why does employee communication matter?

Why does employee communication matter?

Download a presentation I gave to a group of PR students on slideshare

For your consideration:

 

Your special audio report on VOIP is here!

Free VOIP report

 

 

 

 


 
Your special audio report on website design is here!

Free Website design report

 

 

 



"I communicate therefore I am"
CommsCafe mug
Available in medium and large mug sizes. You KNOW you want one!

 

 

CommsCafe mug

Available in men's and women's fittings. You KNOW you want one!


Writing for a web audience

Netwriting Masters CourseWant to write more powerfully for a web audience?...
Right-click on this image and download the pdf file to your computer's hard drive.
"The definitive guide to writing for the web"
says Lee