The whole world, and its activities, has undergone much change since the breakout of the 2019 health situation.

Nowadays, over one and a half years later, we have somehow adapted and accepted a modus operandi that might not have been so quickly approached had the pandemic not struck. In the meantime, our lives and business operations needed to undergo somewhat massive changes, specifically in certain sectors. Our recreational and social lives have taken a hit compared to what we were traditionally used to. 

Today, we have adapted to a somewhat different way for socialising and entertaining ourselves. Our personal lives might have changed by unimaginable levels – especially those who have been affected by the direct or indirect symptoms of the pandemic.

As a parallel to the unplanned impacts offered by the global health situation, perhaps at a more (fast-paced) planned level, technology developments have also pushed us to take on such massive strides in the way we work, entertain ourselves, and live. 

Yet, as the legendary rock band Pink Floyd have put it: “And then one day you find ten years have got behind you; No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.” In addition to all the external change influencers happening around us, let us not forget that we are gradually undergoing the process of change, at a personal level! Let us make sure that we do not miss that ‘starting gun’… it takes ‘us’, that is, ourselves, to be the driver of change in our own eco-systems of personal and professional lives.

Indeed, change does remain one of the most topical and controversial aspects of discussion: both personal, and business-wise. Impact events, such as the pandemic, or technology breakthroughs that gives different insights on how we work, make the realisation of change rather clear.

On the other hand, in the absence of such impactful events, the tortuous process involved in recognising and acknowledging the need for change certainly remains a central issue in this regard. As does the fact that every business entity has its own, unique ‘persona’, reflecting the people who lead and work within it, as well as the competitive environment in which it operates. These preliminary considerations should be more than enough to deter thoughts of one-size-fits-all solutions. Simply stated, both the stimuli for change and the way change is perceived and handled will vary dramatically. This is very much an individual, personal or business character – and is different for each situation in hand.

The ability of individuals to adapt themselves will determine the success of change at both a personal and social level, and also at organisational levels. Organisations are run by people, after all.

Organisations don’t change, individuals do.

No matter how large a project one is taking on, the success of that project ultimately lies with each employee doing their work differently, multiplied across all of the employees impacted by the change. Effective change management requires an understanding for and appreciation of how one person undertakes a change successfully. Without an individual perspective, we are left with activities, but no clear idea of the goal or outcome that we are trying to achieve.

We also know that change, be it at a personal, social or organisational level, can seem scary for some of us. Let us focus on change-related challenges from an organisational perspective. We often tend to overlook the fundamental role of the individual. Perhaps, after the shock to the system provided by the pandemic, today’s executives might realise that they need to be more open to, and hopefully, better-primed to deal with change. Being optimistic about it, after such an unplanned negative impact, we are all now in a better position to understand our pivotal role in helping our organisations evolve along the path leading to better sustainability of our organisations, and the eco-system within which we operate.

From a professional standpoint, there is no doubt that, at individual level, the ability to manage change will determine one’s relevance within the workplace, whatever the role and responsibility. Today, executives at all levels must manage change effectively. Instilling an ‘innovative’ thinking approach to the way we manage change, rather than resorting to somewhat traditional routines, has become so much more critical. So many times, have I recently seen job descriptions and performance reviews mentioning this ‘mystic’ word! What are employers expecting of their employees?  How would prospective or current employees demonstrate that they are innovative?

In my professional experience, I find that an increasing number of top executives do embrace the significance of change management, and now better understand the concept of change leadership. We also need to seek every opportunity to empower our people to act as change agents and deliver change in line with our well-defined corporate strategies. As leaders, we need to promote the reality that change is one of the most powerful professional development tools available to individuals, and ultimately to the organisation.

Our executives must be coached towards thinking of themselves as individual agents of change, through innovative thinking. Among others, they need to be aware of their company’s business realities, in order to recognise that there is indeed a need for specific transformation within identified business areas, implemented with minimal disruption to the system.

Our executives must learn how to package and promote justifiable actions towards change, with attainable objectives. And they need to be prepared to have the overwhelming desire, and the mental toughness, to withstand and overcome inevitable resistance from those resilient members who stick to tradition, even if this might be hindering the chances of innovation and sustainability of the eco-system: the inner business operations, its operational impacts, and the external aspects.

While change happens one person at a time, there are processes and tools that can help facilitate this change across groups and organisations. All this has to be done within a strategic perspective, encapsulating the essential components of successful innovative change management.

Perhaps the ‘starting signal’ has already been given. As we undergo the process of change, naturally, at a personal level, we must also draw this parallel alongside our activities… it takes us, as individuals, to prime the right change within our domains: personal and business.

Ing. Joseph Micallef is a freelance Consulting Advisor, bringing with him over 30 years’ worth of experience across various sectors. Working in areas related with quality, lean, business process transformation and project execution and programme management he can be contacted directly on m +356 9982 2244 or e: [email protected]

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