“It’s a simple fact of competitive life: Every company constantly needs new ideas, new perspectives, new ways of thinking about its products, its services, and its customers.” — Robert B. Reich, Your Job is Change
Way back in October of 2000, Your Job is Change appeared in Fast Company Magazine. I was happy to see we can still retrieve it from their archives for reflection with this month’s Ho‘ohana theme of organizational change.
I read the article again this morning, and found you can strip away the date and it doesn’t matter: here’s the second paragraph:
“Change today happens suddenly, unexpectedly, unpredictably. It occurs in companies the way that we see it occur in biological systems or in technological breakthroughs: Change is sudden, nonlinear, and constant. Its amplitude and direction can’t be forecast. Killer apps can come from anywhere; new competitors are lurking everywhere. Markets emerge, flourish, inspire imitators, breed competitors, and disappear seemingly overnight. Brands, which once took years to establish and which, once established, seemed unassailable, now burst on the scene like a new strain of virus, finding competitive spaces and market niches that were previously invisible. Internet buzz can make a product overnight — or break it. There is more choice than ever, more challenge than ever — and more change than ever.”
See what I mean?
Then, in 2002 we turned the article into a full-blown month-long study in our organization’s managerial forums, again finding we had some discomfort in the ranks with another change rumble tumble. As VP of Operations, this was my introduction to the study (yes, I keep at lot of old stuff in my files”)
We are currently enjoying a much-needed, exciting and exhilarating “blood infusion” (not transfusion”) and this is absolutely great for our management team. If you are a fairly new manager here, read the article for insight and a tip on grabbing a “better-than-fair chance to succeed”. If you don’t think of yourself as a new manager, find out why you should be feeling invigorated about this blood infusion, and how you can lend support and depth to the team — as we know you can.
What else will you find in the article? Lots.
- Find out why it’s good to feel uncomfortable.
- Find out how you can have a constant view on the future, and be thought of as a “pusher”, while openly auditing what you’ve already been doing.
- Find out why it’s a good strategy to undermine “relations” people, even though you pride yourself on cultivating good relationships.
- Find out what the two big sources of change are in today’s economy, and who your best allies are in dealing with them effectively.
- Find out why you have to get your “squad of powerful truth tellers” to tell you what they know.
Author Robert Reich explains why “Change today demands the change insurgent.” And we can all be change insurgents:
“Rather than working from the top down, the change insurgent works from wherever he is. Many change agents used to depend on title, authority, or official sanction to undertake their change programs. Change insurgency doesn’t depend on formal rank; it depends on great ideas, powerful visions, and daring examples.”
And don’t be nervous, for he makes this other point:
“Change insurgency can be a team sport. The most effective change insurgents aren’t loners, mavericks, or revolutionaries. They work the system. They enlist others. They sell their ideas upward and outward, and they grab good ideas from others.”
It is a fairly long article (about a dozen printed pages), but don’t let that stop you: this is an instance where long is good: print it or bookmark it for very worthy weekend reading.