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  • Writer's pictureMatt Garris

The Unknown Drives Change




The following post is adapted from my personal academic coursework.


The Unknown Drives Change

In their discussion about organizational reluctance and resistance toward change, El-Amin and George stated “the one constant is that change is persistent.” Norris stated that “change is inevitable and is consistent in all organizations.” It is true that change has become an increasingly permanent feature in 21st century organizations.


El-Amin and George also noted that “people resist change because of the fear of the unknown.” Ironically, it is the unknowns which drive the need for change in the first place. Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV) states that “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” In other words, while people can and should plan for expected future outcomes, the future will always carry with it a degree of uncertainty. James 4:13-14 states the same principle in a business context: “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit;” whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow.”


The truth is that no one can predict the future. As such, there is great wisdom in Ozdemir’s assertion that “organizational change could be planned or non-planned; urgent or staggered.” The Marine Corps used to train young noncommissioned officers for emergency battlefield leadership with two mantras. The first was that “No plan survives first contact intact.” The implication is that leaders should make the best possible plan, but always be ready for it to change unexpectedly. The second was that “In the absence of a plan, your plan becomes the plan.” This second mantra related to the first and encouraged aspiring leaders to be agile and adaptable to lead in whatever capacity the situation dictated. This is good advice even outside of the theater of operations. Effective leaders must understand that nothing is certain or permanent, that plans will change in response to the organization’s environment, and that whichever organization can adapt the fastest wins.


References

Coban, O., Ozdemir, S., & Pisapia, J. (2019). Top managers’ organizational change management capacity and their strategic leadership levels at Ministry of National Education. Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, 2019(81), 129-146. https://doi.org/10.14689/ejer.2019.81.8


El-Amin, A., & George, B. (2020). Towards a model and strategy for transformational change. Economics, Management and Stability, 5(2), 28-38. https://doi.org/10.14254/jems.2020.5-2.2


Norris, B. (2021, January 22). Transformational change method [Discussion post]. Liberty University Blackboard.


The Holy Bible, New King James Version (1982). Thomas Nelson, Inc.


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