Change fitness is all about having the personal or organisational resources that enable you to handle change really well. Having change fitness gives you a competitive advantage over others who struggle to cope with change.
There are many reasons why you should care about change fitness. In this article I want to introduce you to just three of them. The first reason relates to individuals; the other two are more relevant to businesses or other organisations.
Our personal lives are affected by how well we deal with change. If we have the capacity to handle it well, we are more empowered to negotiate solutions for our problems and grasp opportunities that enable us to fulfil our potential. People who lack change fitness usually lack the confidence to take risks, are less committed to change, second-guess their capacity to succeed, become more reliant on others, are more pessimistic about the future, require more external motivation to remain on task, are less resilient in the face of opposition, and are less likely to take action. If they are fortunate, they may survive; but they rarely thrive. Regrettably, there are many people like this – they just get by in life, but they lack the personal resources to embrace change and make something positive out of it.
People who lack change fitness usually lack the confidence to take risks, are less committed to change, second-guess their capacity to succeed, become more reliant on others, are more pessimistic about the future, require more external motivation to remain on task, are less resilient in the face of opposition, and are less likely to take action.
Look again at the sentence above. How would people like that affect the performance of a business or organisation? Would they increase efficiency, or decrease it? Would they make the task of management easier, or more difficult?
We might be tempted to think that change fitness or change readiness relates to some future time. But a person’s change fitness affects how they deal with their present situation. After all, the present was once the future and current circumstances are the product of changes that occurred in the past. Change fitness affects life in the present every bit as much as it will affect life in the future.
People who possess change fitness are an asset to any organisation, and people who lack change fitness present a substantial risk. And this is a risk that must be managed very carefully because like a contagion, it can spread. The last thing you want is to have negative thinking, pessimistic stories, suspicion, apathy, and passive or passive-aggressive behaviours spread throughout your organisation. Yet the fact that you have to manage these risks makes you less competitive and less efficient as an organisation. It costs you money, it wastes your time, it distracts you from your core business.
People with change fitness are more likely to be high achievers, better performers, and assets to your business. All things being equal, why would you not want to hire them? And promote them? And train your current workforce in change fitness?
You can’t avoid change but you can use it to your competitive advantage.
Dr Steve Barlow