Strategic Human Capital Insights

Change Management: 3 Key Concepts to Help Control the ‘Change Effect'


The Age of Unreason - Welcome to the New Normal

Over 25 years ago, Charles Handy wrote a book, The Age of Unreason. Its relevance today is still undeniable. The message continues to be both profound and prophetic. 

Handy’s opening remarks state, “We can and should be in charge of our own destinies in a time of change.” With that backdrop, we will focus on all aspects of change and change management. We need to recognize change as a constant part of our ‘new normal,' not as an isolated event. It’s here, it’s all around us, and it’s not going away.  


Today, as leaders, managers and employees, we need to understand the disturbances that change will cause.  We will discuss how to deal with change as part of our jobs and everyday lives.  Learning to deal with change and managing change is everyone’s responsibility.   You are, “the levers of change.

Change is a very broadly defined word. For our purposes, we need to clarify and define our change terminology. Direct from Charles Handy, are three key concepts that are basic to understanding change in our world:

  1. Continuous Change: Comfortable change based on the past. It is a gradual, continuous evolution based on known, predictable data evidenced by a preference for the status quo. It is reactive, seeking stability while changing as little as possible.  

  2. Discontinuous Change: This change is not part of a pattern, but is confusing and disturbing. It is far less comfortable and less easy, but more interesting and exciting with an uncertain mix of danger and opportunity.  It is forward focused and requires innovation and creativity, with solutions that can initially appear irrational and ludicrous.

  3. The Age of Unreason: The new future needs to be proactively shaped by us. “The only prediction that will hold true is that no predictions will hold true. This is a time for bold imaginings, for thinking the unlikely and doing the unreasonable.” (Charles Handy, The Age of Unreason)


What is The New Normal?

We are now living in the midst of discontinuous change, which is both confusing and disturbing. Let’s figure out how to shape and control our future positively.  To survive, we must learn to use change instead of reacting to it.  Ignoring change is no longer an option! 



We invite you to schedule a needs assessment if you or your company are looking for ways to manage change.  Remember, the age of unreason is here, so be sure you are ahead of the curve.

Schedule Your 30-Minute Needs Assessment

Topics: Change Management

Posted by Joanne Flynn

Joanne Flynn

Joanne T. Flynn heads up the human capital advisory group, Phoenix Strategic Performance, Inc. Previously, she was a Managing Director with Phoenix Group International and was Vice President / Director of Global Learning and Development at Goldman, Sachs for nine years. Joanne works with organizations as they face global growth and competitive challenges. She works with her clients to be both externally focused and internally responsive. With her unique background, she aligns competitive strategic efforts with related internal organizational leadership challenges. With the benefit of her career-long focus, Joanne contributes the unique insight of aligning strategy to internal organizational structure and process. She focuses on human capital relative to strategic initiatives, accelerated business growth, value creation, and business development. Joanne holds a Master of Arts degree in Business Management from the University of Oklahoma. In addition, she holds a double degree major in History and German from St. Elizabeth University, as well as certificates from a variety of leading universities and professional training and development organizations. Joanne has recently published her latest book, Accelerating Business Success, The Human Asset Management Strategy.

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