Yesterday, when I am usually writing my blog, I was discussing with friends about an urgent need for change. And yet, by pure coincidence, today (while working on a project for one of my clients) I came across the three following statements:
“Faced with changing one’s mind, or proving that there is no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.” – John Kenneth Galbraith
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” – Lao Tzu
The interesting thing about these statements is that they apply equally to our private lives as in business. If everything is perfect then change is the last thing we need. However if things are really bad, most of us find it still too hard to change. My aunt often used to say “better the devil you know than the devil you do not know”. Well, what nonsense is that?
There is a really great line in a Steely Dan song:
“like a castle in its corner, in a medieval game, I foresee terrible trouble and I stay here just the same”. You might want to criticize the forced imagery but the truth the line conveys is extraordinary.
In business, everyday I am confronted by people that would like to change and improve things but somehow find the risk and the effort too much to keep them motivated to go through with the necessary action. But this is exactly where the interim manager must assist. It is our ‘duty’ to inspire, motivate and cajole people to rise to a higher level, to adapt to new environments and to grasp the challenges of what is out there to be won.
Really good interim managers, set out a plan and a strategy for change and do not rest until those around them see it and sign up to the program. Having achieved this first goal, the remainder of the assignment becomes operational – important, but none the less, not so enthralling.