I lived in France, the UK, the USA, in Spain and now I live in Germany. I came to the realization that western Europe is not really into Change Management. It first started when I wanted to study change management not only as a methodology that one must follow but as a living science based on observations, studies and psychology . I have the impression that change is not understood as a positive energy that fosters creativity and innovation. On the contrary, change is usually seen as something to avoid if possible or sabotage.
I worked in companies where simple change would have made a huge difference in the employees’ life and the company efficiency but they were simply avoided for fear of discomfort. I was even invited to use the word improvement instead of change to relax the stressed out managers and employees. People in organizations usually welcome improvements but reject a change. Even if the improvement is a change. See the paradox… I now use the word improvement.
Europe is made of old countries with an aging population. We are very prone to stagnation and love the status quo even if we claim the opposite. We do not think we can change the world because we are defeatist and believe there is nothing to do. We do not see the doors of opportunity but instead all the risks and dangers that are awaiting us at the corner.
This does not mean that all western Europeans are change avert. On the contrary, I believe that many people want change and are ready to lead it but blockades are on their way. Here are some reasons that explain the situation:
- Younger employees lack of skills is seen an incurable
- Older employees are seen as unfit
- Companies are rigid and do not tolerate risks
- Companies are still comfortable with the present situation
- Companies believe nothing can change
- Companies cannot prepare for a plan B because the world own them the plan A
- Top-down communication in institutions
- Competition and lack of cooperation at work
Our level of consciousness has to change because we cannot change the problem with the same mindset that created it. We must look at those problems from another angle. We could for example:
- Promote mentorship in companies by pairing experienced employees and newbies.
- Promote Transfer of knowledge between employees
- Promote collaboration between departments (destroy silos)
- Promote problem solving at all companies level
- Promote 2-ways communication with feedback and improvements
- Promote servant leaders that care about their coworkers and see them as their equal
- Promote Coaching to help people overcome difficulties they may face during transitions
On thing I have learned over time is that only people who want to change take the steps necessary to improve their situation. Usually, their discomfort is so strong that they need to step away and realize that something is not working in their favor. Change, even when desired is a long and painful process. It takes realization, consciousness, desire to grow and letting things go while accepting what is. Changing is accepting to take a step in another direction and receiving the help of more experienced people to ease the transfer. Change is looking at oneself in the mirror, accepting our flaws, looking for our strengths to finally realize that our flaws are what make us unique and irreplaceable. There is a magic in change: it shows you who you are and how to become a better version of yourself.