I got totally bogged down today in a piece I'm writing about managing change. Briefly I've been asked if I could consider approaches to change and provide some frameworks and activities to help people get started and/or improve their managing change skills.
It's one of those topics that seems utterly clear to begin with and gets progressively more murky the deeper down you dive into it. I began with trawling through all the articles I have collected on it, before going to my bookshelf and finding the several books I have on it. Then I went to find a definition. There are thirteen of them on the site I went to. I was pleased to see I could also find them in other languages including Dutch, Korean, Portuguese, and Russian should I want to. I resisted the temptation of this displacement activity and focused on the task in hand.
Having surrounded myself with this unstructured information I then went to the on-line university library that I have access to and looked for academic articles on the topic. That was also a recipe for procrastination as it suddenly seemed tremendously urgent to read an article on Values in Nordic Newspaper Editor Decision Making (in the Journal of Media Business Studies), and Precision ag technology offers opportunities for peanut farmers to improve efficiency. (in Western Farm Press) clearly I'd run out of self-control in allowing myself this diversion – there was small comfort in the fact that both mentioned change management.
At least I knew that I had an exhaustible supply of self-control. I read this useful fact in a Fast Company article earlier this week. The article Why change is so hard: self control is exhaustible opens with the statement.
You hear a lot about change: People won't change because they're too lazy. Well, I'm here to stick up for the lazy people. In fact, I want to argue that what looks like laziness is actually exhaustion. The proof comes from a psychology study that is absolutely fascinating.
The article goes on to discuss the study ending with the remark that:
Change wears people out-even well-intentioned people will simply run out of fuel.
This is not really the road I want to go down as I provide guidance for people who are tasked with managing change. They don't want to know that they will run out of self-control and become exhausted. They want to know exactly the opposite – that with good guidance and the right tools they will have a well controlled change management process which is energizing both for them and the people they are supporting through the change process.
So back to the toolkit – looking at my array of books I thought it might be helpful to compile an Amazon wish list of books on managing change. So I did that, which took a fair bit of time, but at least I can point people to it in the tool kit. I did wonder if there was a facility to convert the wish list into a correctly formatted (APA 6th edition) bibliography as a word document but haven't explored that yet. The list is available by typing in my name on the Amazon wish list search and looking for the list on change management.
Now the task is to read through the information and structure it into the guidance and toolkit. However, that's for tomorrow. This evening a friend is singing in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra production of Brahms German Requiem and I'm going to that. I'm hopeful that listening to it will allow replenishment of my self control, together with the emergence of the outline of the document to write. (Tomorrow, I will also ask my webmaster to put a direct link from this website to my Amazon wish lists).