These days we are seeing the greatest social, economic, technological, and political changes in living memory. In this scenario, change management becomes crucial to adapt to the new realities, but the change is so fast that it is causing real havoc, and it seems that things can be accelerated even more.
Let’s think that this current change is comparable at least to what the Industrial Revolution brought about with the previous one, with the difference that it is much faster.
In other words, we are not facing a more or less gradual change, like the one that has been experienced in the West in the last 200 or 300 years.
Not at all.
We are facing a radical change in all the key structures of society.
The President of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, has said that this change is unparalleled and that it leads humanity to a radical change that will lead to the merging of its physical, digital and biological identities.
It is not necessary to be a fortune teller to realize that we are facing a very big seizure.
You just have to look around and see that we are entering an era quite different from the previous one.
Let’s see some of those change processes:
- The passage from physical life to virtual life
- Elimination of physical money to make way for digital money
- Decentralization of global relations thanks to the network
- Radical changes in gene therapies
- Abandoning fossil fuels and switching to renewable energies
- Introduction of elements such as universal basic income
- Robotization of physical activities
- Automation of digital realities
- Possible drastic changes in the property regime
- Political changes toward more socialist structures
- Increased surveillance and monitoring: loss of privacy
And many more things that I forget.
Many people don’t realize these changes yet, but things are accelerating and it’s only a matter of time before we start to see things that previously seemed impossible.
So in this climate of brutal change the mindsets of the past: the zombie mindsets are having a hard time seeing the paradigm.
These zombie mentalities are embedded in all strata of our society. They are a series of behaviors and habits that have been established over decades and if I may say so, even centuries.
What was valid before will not be valid in the future, and many people are going to have a sudden “awakening”.
Change management and digital transformation
The digital issue is key to understanding the depth of the change in which we are involved.
This transformation is causing many established systems that were thought to be very solid to be completely broken down.
The structures of the past were strongly tied to the physical component of reality, that is, offices, premises, apartments, factories, warehouses, warehouses, parking spaces, boats, planes, people’s physical contact, and so on.
The digital fully attacks all that organizational structure based on personal contact.
It is no longer necessary to go to a store to buy dog food.
You don’t have to go to the bank to get a loan.
However, all this would not be enough to change other things in which people would want to continue using their freedom of movement and that cannot be easily replaced.
I’m talking about things like going for a drink, going dancing, or playing soccer.
Well, it seems that in a way, let’s call it oblique, obstacles are being created so that people can’t do those things.
- A great pandemic makes it impossible for us to go have drinks together at the disco
- Climate change makes many activities have to disappear, under threat of the end of the planet. Who would oppose protecting the planet from destruction? It’s hard to win a debate like this.
- In this way, the conditions are also created so that people have to embrace new forms of leisure and spending time.
All these ways of doing it are linked to the digital world.
Strategies for change management
To make changes it is good that we do it strategically. For this we will have to implement a series of strategies to follow:
- Establish the goals we want to reach
- Identify and involve stakeholders from the start
- Use communication techniques to promote change
- Involve people as much as possible
- Implement changes in a phased manner
- Involve ourselves with all our might
- Manage results after changes
- Explore new possibilities for even better change
Change management in companies
Companies are the first to notice these radical changes, and they notice it with a collapse of their structures and of all those that are hit by changes in human behavior.
If you no longer have to go to the bank to request a loan, what is the point of keeping the offices open?
Logically, in all those sites that are being destroyed by the new digital and technological reality, they try to oppose change, which is unsuccessful in the medium-long term.
Change management is applied more quickly in new companies and in those that reward youth. This is where there are more people with technological knowledge: that is, young people.
It is a paradox, because those who have the capital and wealth are the largest, and these groups are the most opposed to the social change in which we are involved.
Young people, on the other hand, find themselves in the middle of a dichotomy.
On the one hand, those who find those possibilities that radical changes give and adapt to them, thus becoming the vanguard of change.
And on the other hand, those who, due to the “war” that exists in society, are unable to raise their heads, amid an old world that is crumbling and refuses to hand over its scepter of power: the old world.
Change management in public organizations
Resistance to change is stronger, if possible, in public administrations, where it is well known that their employees remain stuck in outdated processes and have little interest in changing them.
Why would they have any interest?
They are workers outside the competition.
For this reason, public entities are also among the least affected by the change, at least in the sense that their employees continue to keep their jobs, although we will have to see what happens in the future if the changes are so radical that some professions can be become completely obsolete, such as high school teachers; but that would be material for another discussion.
In other words, these public administrations are:
- The most resistant to change
- Those least affected by the change, at least in terms of the end of their activity
The second point is very important to understand because it gives us the key to one of the trends of digital change.
I’m talking about a very strong trend towards ever-growing structures dependent on the public.
In one way or another, the pressure that exists is towards greater control of society; control that comes hand in hand with technological changes and the increase in controlling activity by public structures.
Therefore, this zombie mentality of public officials is getting even stronger over time as it seems that more and more layers of society are going to end up being dependent on the public. And there is nothing that zombifies a person more than depending on it.
This is how we have two huge opposing forces.
On the one hand, the business sector has to make radical changes, as they are not remembered, being those entities that resist changing the most affected.
And on the other, an increasingly large public sector, which as it grows increases resistance to change.
So what conclusion do we draw from this?
That somehow, digital progress leads society to a reality where the public is preponderant.
Yes, along the way there are some brutal changes, and whoever does not adapt will “die”, but that only applies to the private company, as long as it exists.
However, as more layers of society enter the public networks, the change ceases.