Strategic Human Capital Insights

Change Management Series Part 1: 3 Key Concepts to Help Control the ‘Change Effect'

6/17/14 7:12 AM


changeThe 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, our first blog series 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.  
  1. 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.
  1. 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

In 2014, Joanne Flynn founded Phoenix Strategic Performance, a strategic human capital advisory firm. Prior to this, Joanne was Vice President at Goldman Sachs for 10 years responsible for global learning and development. She then led the consulting practice of Phoenix Group International, a consulting firm specializing in global financial service. Joanne is now taking best practices from the people-intensive financial services industry and adapting those best practices to startup and growth businesses. She is a thought leader in the areas of strategic organizational alignment, organizational agility, human capital gap analysis, leadership challenges for the new workplace and transformation leadership.

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