Change is Hard, but Stagnation is Fatal

By Robyn Undieme | May 27, 2015

Confession: I've always been baffled by people who fear change. So I guess my secret is out: I love change. In fact, I have a quote below my signature line that says: "Change is hardbut stagnation is fatal," by Dr. Peter C. Bishop.

I understand to some extent those people who fear change when it's a change that's not within their realm of control. However, there are some people who will resist change for as long as humanly possible until there's no other option available to them. I wonder: don't they get bored or frustrated with something so outdated?

Think about what would happen if this world stayed frozen in time with no change. Remember a time when there were no smartphones? How would you like to keep wearing clothes from your teen years? Not so much.

When I think about businesses that resisted change, the case of Blockbuster and Netflix come to mind. Netflix redefined how we rent videos. Blockbuster didn't react soon enough, causing it to eventually die a slow death. Change is essential to survival and can be a little or a lot, but regardless, it's unavoidable and necessary.

This doesn't mean all change is good change and always leads to success. J.C. Penney Company, Inc. demonstrated their desire to do away with coupons and reduce their prices across the board. In the end, due to customer feedback, they ended up lowering the value of their product and had to change their business model back to increased prices and coupons.

What I'm saying is people shouldn't be so black and white with change. It's not all bad and it's not all good. My hope for the City is that we will be an organization that encourages departments to experiment and if it ends up being a bad decision or change, then it's up to us to own up to it and recover quickly.

One of the most deadly things we can say in an organization is: "It's always been done this way."  If you're one of those people that like to say that, then I'm fairly certain you don't like the MAAP Office. And speaking of change and the MAAP Office, we're working really, really hard to try to change our relationship with City employees. I hope that is a change you can get behind. You may be cynical about the genuineness of our efforts, but I hope you'll be open enough to give us a chance with time.

So, to sum this all up: Change may be out of your comfort zone. Even though I can't always relate to what that feels like, I can respect that; simultaneously we need to balance change with strategy and quick recovery. The MAAP Office is here to support change and wants you in the driver's seat. You tell us what needs to be improved and we'll be here to listen and support you.