Sunday, 5 January 2014

HOW TO BRING CHANGE TO A PEOPLE ANYWHERE



C
hange is difficult, most a times unpleasant when everyone has gotten used to the status quo or trusted in a particular system for  long. When people become dogmatized by principles and systems they have known for so long, it is only natural for them to oppose anything that will change that. Any form of change that will sway them away from a path in whose promise they know is sure, naturally will be resisted and rejected with the last breath if the need be.
But change becomes necessary when we lust for improvement or a new experience so bad. You keep on getting what you get so far as you continue doing what you’ve always done. Change does not happen unless you make it happen. Change anywhere requires efforts. Effort to think differently, to try new methods or technologies; to take new decisions; and to tread new paths or test still waters which hitherto wouldn’t have gained attention and precious time.
Though most of us dread and willingly oppose change in the beginning stages; we tend to fall in love with the effects change produces. How therefore do we effect change where we find ourselves, change that is lasting in any part of the world?
In bringing change to a people it is necessary or the topmost point of interest to become acclimatize to the lifestyle and strategy of the people. Change becomes smoother when you fully understand and involve the biggest stakeholders to find a strategy relevant to the culture of the stakeholders. This consensus building is the garnering of forces from a critical mass of the people who can make the status quo disappear through the application of a strategy relevant to the way (of life or doing things) of all and sundry.
No wonder, the Christian Apostle, Paul, exclaimed that he makes himself all things that he may win some (1 Cor. 9:22). This strategy is germane to business, ministry, family and life.
People become susceptible to change efforts when they get access to good and right information. Naturally, a leader wouldn’t have to force change down the throats of people whenever there is an engaging and participatory atmosphere for communication. A lot of times, some leaders claim to use this approach but when you go below the surface their engaging and participatory sessions are facades.
To make any change successful, transferable and sustainable, you need an all inclusive approach that facilitates dialogue. With such approach you just don’t tell people what to do. Telling people what to do is hostile and might invite resistance.
Dialogue must embody empathy and respect; and empathy is one’s ability to identify with the pain of another. It is going beyond the feeling of pity. Empathy is allowing yourself to experience the world of another to get to know what it feels like to be there – there in the world of his/her problem.  It also entails understanding their history, their language, their culture and their priorities. It is only with such a plan that your good intentions will help you congregate ideas for taking actions for change and positive outcomes.
Your good intention might be resisted when it is communicated with outrage (of the status quo and its believers) and autocratic tendencies. It is only systematic processes that brings real change; change that goes deeper than just dictating to people what to do and what not to do. The mindset of people dictates what they do with or without reason. The mindset of anyone is in itself a stronghold that requires a systematic tactic to change.
Lengthy and thoughtful discussion can be unpleasant and time-consuming but when wisely used can lead to the garnering of knowledge that will forever be germane to the change strategy. When the framework is laid for dialogue; people introduced to ideas; shared values identified; the people will own the change and not fight it.
 Real change is never instant. In our dispensation such never last. A change that is gradual is one that everyone comes to appreciate when it happens though it took a long time to. People who have taken the decision themselves on what the change process will be; when and how it should be implemented will never resist the values they have identified, decided upon and shares.
A good leader is one who takes his/her people to where they want to go to, knowing very well that where they want to get to is the right place. It is only self discovery that makes any form of change maintainable in any enterprise.

Copyright © 2011. Jacob Nana Kwesi Dapaah.

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