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Change Dynamics

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The world is changing, every aspect of it, and it is changing quickly. Politics, technology, global markets, economics, information systems, society, the environment, the struc­ture of business, and industry are all changing. Individuals must change as well! Today's business environment de­mands it!
According to Beck in the pre-1918 era, the four engines that ran the economy were textiles, coal, steel and the railroads. The key factor of cheap steel influenced these economic mainstays of our nation. The infrastructure in place to facilitate the economy included railroads, shipping and the telegraph. From 1918 to 1981 we were deep into the mass manufacturing era. Automobiles, machine tools, housing, and retail became the primary economic products.

Cheap energy made mass manufacturing possible, and a solid infrastructure of highways, airports and telephones facili­tated these businesses. From 1981 to the 1990s the key factor of industry was cheap microchips. Satellites, fiber optics, networks, and broadcasting were the key infra­structure items which contributed to the opening of semi­conductor, medical, communications, and instrumentation economies. The mid-1990s brought cheap storage, and infrastructure items such as information highways, data bases, and access systems are leading to increases in biotechnology, intelligent systems, new materials, and information economics.

The rate of change is accelerating. The speed of human transportation is only one example of how rapidly the changes are taking place. Before 1890 the rate of speed was limited to the speed of the horse. The automobile multi­plied speeds by two, the airplane multiplied those speeds by two hundred, jets by even more, and today the fastest we know of is the speed of a shuttle reentering the atmosphere, approximately 6500 miles per hour. This only reflects the changes in the speed of human transportation. Similar rates of change are occurring in the knowledge industry, the service industries, the medical industry, the communi­cations industry, the computer industry, and every other industry.

Businesses must change to meet the new realities of this business world, and the businesses that do not change will fail. According to Senge, the average lifespan of a business today is less than 40 years. That means that the businesses that were beginning when you were born are either dead or dying today. Unless, that is, that they have mastered the art of changing, and can change quickly! Those businesses which can and do respond to market conditions and change quickly have a strong competitive advantage!

How do they have to change? They must become flatter. They must have methods and procedures that are less bureaucratic. They must focus more on the customer, and emphasize providing added value in their products and
services. They must integrate new technology at the same time that they respond to environmental concerns. They must eliminate waste.

Throughout this change process, executives have the re­sponsibility for making decisions, for being right, and for convincing others of that fact. They must lead and manage the change. The process of change impacts individuals, work groups, and the organization as a whole. No aspect of the organization is immune from change. Winning in war or business requires a winning attitude that is re­flected in the organization, the people and the technology.

Individual personality will impact the ability of a business to win. It impacts the organization's development, team building, and individual behavior. Personality impacts how people communicate with each other, how they learn, how they experience and participate in teambuilding, how they perform, their ability to succeed, their interpersonal relationships, their motivation, their cooperation, their behavior and their morale. It also impacts their ability to manage change. As individuals encounter change, they respond according to the Walpole model. Initially they reject the idea of change, determined that it won't happen. Then, when they understand that it will happen, they react with disbelief. When the change finally takes place, they respond with reluctant toleration. After some experience with the new procedures and methods, they give tacit approval. Finally, when they have mastered the change, they own it. It belongs to them, and they are proud of it.

To be Continued


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