Why it is Becoming Difficult to Change the Status Quo in Economies and Organizations?

The Necessity of Change and Change Agents World Over

World over, the leaders of nations and firms are grappling with the need to change old ways of thinking and change old habits of behavior to face the future that is certainly disruptive and hence, to thrive in the years to come, change would be the only constant that matters.

Thus, the realization that nations, economies, societies, organizations, and the people in them must change or perish in the world to come has certainly dawned on the political and economic elites across the world.

This has led to the emergence of charismatic change agents such as the leaders in India, France, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere who are cognizant of the need to change and are attempting change through shock therapies as well as glacial steps to transform the status quo.

For instance, in France, the new President, Emmanuel Macron, has called for greater integration of the Eurozone to ensure its continued relevance as well as to ward off threats such as Brexit which was essentially a vote against the European Union.

Similarly, in Saudi Arabia, the emerging paradigm led by the de facto ruler, Mohammad Bin Salman, or MBS, focuses on preparing the country for a future beyond oil and in this regard, he has outlined a vision for the country to face the future and has detailed the steps that are needed to be taken to actualize that vision.

Further, the Demonetization exercise in India was carried out to affect a behavioral change in the people to wean them off cash and ensure that India prepares for cashless future.

Among contemporary organizations, Infosys seemed to have embraced change in recent years though the path ahead is fraught with roadblocks and other deterrents.

Indeed, what all these examples show us are that the necessity of change has been recognized, though, the implementation seems to be faltering.

Hardware of Systems Not Compatible with Software of Change

The reason why bold and ambitious reform programs in economies and organizations are failing or faltering is that the system has proved to be resistant to change. After all, old habits die hard in addition to the old mindsets being like cobwebs that take time to clear and actualize change.

To take an analogy, if the software of changing mindsets and behaviors has to be rolled out, the hardware of supporting systems and processes as well as laws and regulations too need to be changed if the structural changes that are being implemented have to succeed. Indeed, having a vision for the future is one thing and having a clear blueprint and executing it is an altogether different thing.

What is happening right now is that nations and organizations are ready with the software of change, but the underlying hardware or the structural laws and regulations as well as the systems and processes are so ingrained in the older habits and thinking that there is a basic incompatibility between the software and the hardware leading to stymied changes and thwarted reforms.

Change or Perish, and Reform or be Extinct

Having said that, it must be noted that the necessity of change cannot be any more important than it is now since the future would be dominated by accelerating technological progress and exponential change which means that linear thinking and behavior that is stuck in the old ways would lead to the collapse of the systems.

In other words, the writing on the wall is clear and it is that change or perish and reform or be extinct. Thus, the key point to note here is that this message must be percolated to all levels of the organizations and all stakeholders in the nations as well as other entities.

The reason why the structures of organizations and firms are resistant to change is that they are made up of individuals as well as laws and regulations that were enacted decades ago when the future seemed predictable.

However, that is not the case now as almost everyone has realized that the future would be very disruptive and hence, they must be ready to face disruption or be dislocated. This should be backed up by changing laws and regulations and institutions to make them future ready wherein the attempt must be to affect a fundamental change or what is known as a paradigm shift in the way we approach the future.

Indeed, the stakes could not have been higher wherein we risk massive social unrest and much chaos unless we collectively make the choices that would help us navigate the storms ahead.

What we as Individuals can do

This calls for discipline and some amount of personal sacrifice to ensure that future generations would live in a world worth inhabiting. However, the fact remains that most of the change initiatives are failing because they are more optics based meaning that some of them are being carried out to make the change agents look good in front of the cameras as well as massage their egos which is certainly not the way to go.

More Substance needed and Less Optics

Thus, this means that change initiatives must not only be about grand slogans and instead, must be accompanied by a desire to affect a fundamental change. Lastly, what this means for all stakeholders is that there must be a consensus between them wherein the saying, united we stand, divided we fall, would apply.

To conclude, we are at a crossroads in our collective evolution and the choices and changes we embrace now and carry out with discipline and willpower would determine whether we survive the future.

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Change Management