People don’t like change. They are suspicious of it. It worries, even frightens them. And so they kick against it. They fight shy, seeking to preserve what they know, to maintain the status quo even if that, in itself, isn’t that great.
When I was working in a corporate environment, we had a Director of Change whose sole job it was to talk people into working in a different way, embracing new ideas and technologies to make us work smarter and more efficiently. It was a thankless task. From the dinosaur partners to the fresh faced trainees, everyone liked the way they worked. It worked for them and that was enough. Who cared if there were a better way to go about things? They didn’t have time to stop and take something new on board. There was work to be done.
I don’t mind change. I don’t mean change for change’s sake and I do often use the old adage “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. But I like to think my first reaction is not just “NO”. I had a lot of change as a child. Moving around the country as often as we did meant that I was regularly having to adapt to new places and people. We settled. We moved on. That was life. And I liked it.
So now, I am finding the whole issue of change increasingly frustrating. On the one hand the government (and I mean any of them not just the current one) seems to like to try out new ideas on the public. The thinking appears to be that if we change enough things, we are bound to get something right eventually. They make ill conceived plans based on reports designed to make headlines from career blazing juniors . The change is trumpeted, pushed through and then those responsible move on, leaving the rest of us with systems which are often mere shadows of what they replaced.
But then, equally as irritating are those people whose default setting seems to be no without giving what has been mooted a fair crack at the whip. Ilkley is a white, middle class, middle aged town. I fit in perfectly. You can imagine how well change goes down here. The local rag is full of stories and letters about its residents getting hot under the collar over one issue or another. I am sure they all have laudable motives and believe firmly in what it is that they seek to protect. But I sometimes wish that people would just step back and think things through. Often change is a necessary evil to achieve some other, more desirable end. And with the speed at which the world is developing if we are not very careful we will be left behind so that there is nothing left for the future generations to get aerated about.
Not all change is bad. If we took that on board, we could spend more time focused on how to move forward effectively and less time fighting over what is old but not necessarily worth fighting for.