By Thelagarani A/P M. Murugesu, Senior Lecturer, School of Business
Change brings about different perspectives to people in general. Some people consider change as inevitable and embrace change willingly whereas some see it as a challenge that will upset their routine life.
In realising the meaning of change, the word change certainly brings about uncertainty. The uncertainties can be in many forms and outcomes. There may be negative outcomes leading to loss of jobs and status. On the other hand, positive outcomes of a better standard of living and lifestyle have also been identified in many people.
In general, anyone faced with uncertainties in life would be reluctant to face or embrace change. According to research done by one of the infamous cultural guru Geert Hofstede, Malaysia stands at 100% in terms of power distance. This means that the gap between the top management and employees is the highest in the scale compared to many countries. The revelation of this analysis indicates that the culture of work in Malaysia is dominated by the top management who makes decisions for their employees. Thus the flexibility for employees or people to manage change on their own free will be difficult as they are shielded by the powers of the management. The same phenomena is seen in the schools where students rely on teachers to lead them through their studies with little or self-reliance.
However, the COVID 19 pandemic has revealed a very important lesson for human beings : they are capable of change in forced circumstances. We have read about pilots who had resorted to selling burgers due to loss of jobs, managers driving Grab upon retrenchment and many more. Housewives have hit the headlines by cooking delicious and mouth-watering dishes to help out their families in difficult times. The fact is that COVID 19 has made these people realise their latent talents. What if COVID did not take place? Would these changes have taken place?
It comes as a hard truth that everyone can face changes. However, it is their perception of change that becomes a barrier for them. When the pandemic is over, would we go back to our laid back and obsolete lifestyles? Hopefully not!
It is interesting to note that the nature of change is compelling and necessary. Humans have been embedded with the ability to change naturally. However, many do not see it existing in them until the change becomes a life turning event.
Change benefits the young and old. Everyone should embrace change positively to see it as an opportunity to do things differently. Currently, the world of work has evolved around technology and robotics. Employers are frequently looking for individuals who can do things differently to bring about innovation in their respective organisations. Individuals with creative minds and problem-solving skills are sought after. Thinking out the box is a necessity for young people today and being multi-skilled and talented is a requirement.
The advice that could be rendered to people in general is to be change averse and to see the change positively in them. Individuals should not reject the change but be able to weigh the pros and cons of the change. Some strategies that can help people to become change averse are as follows
- Always be positive in thoughts
- Welcome change in a positive manner
- Attend trainings to update your knowledge on the importance of change
- Always look for improvements and change the way you do things regularly
- Be in a company of people who embrace change easily
Finally, adapting to change leads to better learning opportunities and development. Anyone who can see change in a positive light will create a pathway to success in their ventures.