Change is normal. It is natural. It is a part of life. Change even happens in death.
Not changing is abnormal. Not changing is an attempt to stop time, growth, death, progress, etc.
Change is easy if we just stay out of they way.
So why is it that change is so hard for humans? Is it because we associate change with fear? Is it because we equate change with being out of control? Do we fear that we will lose something, and not gain something in its place?
Going beyond this – why is change so difficult for cultures? Maybe this is a better question. Humans, on their own, have an easier time changing and adapting than cultures and organizations that are established. It’s a part of our individual lives. Our bodies age and change, and so we adapt to these changes because we have no choice. But cultures, it seems, do have a choice. They can change and adapt, or they can choose to remain the same. The problem though is that this is a false choice. Choosing to remain the same is really a death sentence.
So how does change really happen – especially for a culture or established institution? It depends. It depends on the culture and the people within the organization. It depends on willingness and acceptance of reality. It depends on vision. It depends on how forward thinking the group that makes up the culture really is.
Here’s what I know – for organizations and cultures that are resistant to change, there is only way that change has a chance to occur. That is to make the status quo more painful than change. When the status quo is more painful than changing, self-preservation usually kicks in. Change isn’t seen as something to resist. It’s seen as something necessary to survive.
However, if a culture has turned in on itself to the point that people are only interested in making the culture or institution survive long enough until they die, that culture will not change in a significant way. It will adapt enough to make the organization last long enough to bury the last person.