Change for change’s sake

Whether you’re a “tow-the-line” individual contributor, an mid-level manager, or a change agent in your organization, you’ve probably found that the best way to curry favor with others in your organization is to bark about the perils of “change for change’s sake.” Your belief in the default status of the status quo gives you the air of an efficiency-minded pragmatist and as one that seeks to minimize inconvenience and discomfort for your colleagues.

But are you doing them, and yourself, any favors?

The phrase “change for change’s sake” presumes that the need for novelty is at the heart of unnecessary change. By that same logic, going out for a run without a destination is lunacy.

Just as jogging conditions our bodies (and as it turns out, our brains), adopting small change conditions us to acclimate to change when there’s no other alternative but to change. If you’re a jogger, you’re probably motivated by one of two factors:

  • long-term advantages: overall fitness, heart health, reduced likelihood of disease in your “golden years”
  • short-term advantages: ability to survive bear charges, muggers, and work-sponsored fun runs

By deliberately running without destination, joggers prepare themselves for the continuous, inevitable, long-term circumstances of age as well as the sudden, unforeseeable threats to the status quo.

Instead of decrying “change for change’s sake,” consider extolling “continuous preparedness for change.”

Your lungs, muscles, brains, and your institutions will thank you for it.

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