The Predictability Factor: Another View of Change
Change happens. We all know things change. Spring turns into summer. Fall turns into winter. Pre-teens turn into teen-agers. Teenagers turn into young adults. High school graduates go off to college. A date turns into a serious relationship, turns into a proposal, turns into marriage, turns into a family – and before you know it you have grand kids!
Yes, change happens. Most of the change we easily think about is change we generally can predict.
Every employee and every leader and every human resource practitioner and every change agent and every consultant hired to “manage change” experiences change every day in many ways.
So why do we fear change? Why do our leaders fear change? Why do they so desperately want to manage change? Control change?
I believe change has gotten a bad rap – keep it simple: what can we do about change? I say “Nothing”. Change is as change does. No matter what you do or do not do, things will change. For the worse or for the better, or for just change. Not worse. Not better. Just different.
In fact, most change is really just change. It is not worse. And, it does not have to be better. Don’t put the pressure of “better” on change.
I suggest that most of us really don’t fear change; however, we might fear what change could mean for us.
Perhaps it is the lack of predictability that we fear.
We all can deal fairly easily with change in our life that is fairly predicable. We know our kids will grow and change and mature and eventually move out. We might not like some aspects of all this, but we know it will happen. We know in October the weather will get cooler or wetter; for most of us it will be different from what it was like in July. We might not like the cooler weather. Yet, we know it is coming. It is predicable.
So, perhaps managing change has nothing or little to do with the actual change and more to do with predictability. I call this the “predictability factor”.
Can we manage predictability?
Yes, to some extent. Can we manage it absolutely? No, of course not. If we could, we would be clairvoyant, able to see or predict the future. Of course, we cannot do that. But we can manage predictability.
Here, we get into cliché country. I suggest we look at managing predictability by communicating. Communicate what you know, what you don’t know, when you might or will know, why. Communicate anything else, everything else. Communicate about communicating.
The more you communicate the more predictable things are.
The more predictable things are the more they are accepted.
Demystify change by making it predictable.
Of course, this is not a full discourse on change management. However, there is much that we as human resource practitioners do daily, weekly and monthly that can benefit from improved predictability. Don’t focus on trying to sell hard-to-sell stuff.
Focus on adding predictability to what you do.
Consider McDonalds – what a great example of predictability.
Questions to ponder:
How can you add predictability to what you do?
What can you do to improve seasonal predictability for human resource programs?
List out the areas for predictability.
List out the benefits of improving or increasing predictability in your work area and for your customers.
Philip Espinosa partners with people to deliver value: People | Partnerships | Value serves as his tag line. As a strategic human resources leader, he believes that service starts with the customer. His book "Deliver Excellent Customer Service with a SNAP” helps others drive customer engagement using simple and consistent communication strategies. A second book titled "Focus On Your Success - 24 Simple Insights To Drive Daily Achievement" (ebook) helps working professionals view their daily choices through a different perspective. In addition to his writing, Philip works with strategic human capital initiatives and has delivered successful results over a career spanning more than 25 years.