Saturday, March 24, 2018

Just take what you need and leave the rest (The Band)

Photo by Amritanshu Sikdar on Unsplash

Don't get me wrong, I love change.

In my working life, I've lived and worked in a number of countries (England, China, Qatar, UAE). In New Zealand I've lived and taught in many regions: Taranaki, Auckland, Hawkes' Bay, and Nelson). During those jobs, five years in one place is still my record and that was during last century.

All that adventure means: different cultures, different restrictions, different climates, different geographies, different colleagues, and different bosses. 

All of these different organisations brought about a lot of change.

Adaptability and flexibility are therefore deeply ingrained in my psyche along with relentless positivity.

So, when I wonder if there is such a thing as too much change, you should listen because I'm worried about that tipping point, when the rate of constant change becomes counter productive. 

The analogy of a barrel of water is a good one: there is a limited capacity for water (change); change disruption is how much water is in (and is being added to) the barrel.

How much water in the barrel can an organisation handle before saturation happens?

Luckily, quite a bit is the answer.

Except it's not the abstract idea of 'an organisation' that needs to be considered. It's people who feel change saturation, not a school.

When the water barrel is overflowing, the potential for disengagement and apathy, frustration and increased stress, fatigue and burnout, resistance and confusion, cynicism and skepticism are present. 

In addition, there is the potential for any great on-going initiatives to suffer as well; exciting existing projects may, and probably will, fail to gain or maintain momentum because everyone is cream crackered, and over it! 

And that would be a tragedy.

So, what needs to happen if that saturated bloated water gorged barrel is overflowing?

Someone with the overall vision (possibly/probably from a group often referred to as 'The Powers That Be') needs to step back and consider the collective impact those changes are having. Everyone else has either vested interests or is too close to the change implementation process.

Just take what you need, and leave the rest, is one way one looking at it, or, as William Arthur Ward says, "The pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist expects it to change, the realist adjusts the sails".

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