THERE is so much happening and that has already happened in South Africa that requires us to take stock of ourselves and our personal attitudes towards issues related to transformation, change and diversity that surround us.
What we do going forward can either assist us or inhibit personal progress. We can face up to the future and the changes we must make, and let our decisions be either a blessing or a curse. It’s up to each one of us to decide.
In the Time theme by Sir Lawrence Olivier he states “the quality of your life is brought about by the quality of your thinking” – think about that.
If we look about us, we will see pettiness, envy, greed and fear. These are all issues over which we have no control. What we do have control of is our personal attitude and the way in which we permit our attitude to impact on the lives of those with whom we come into contact. So, to address the issue of change we must first decide to change our attitude.
It is our attitude and not our aptitude that will determine our altitude or the height to which we can rise if we accept the challenges of change.
Effective transformation and change cannot be achieved easily, quickly or cheaply. Change is toxic but at the same time can be a tonic – it is both a threat and an opportunity. Individuals have very different attitudes and will behave differently depending on how they are personally impacted by the change. Change makes people restless – people can get upset.
What is most important in addressing a form of change is that an exchange is necessary – people need to communicate and share their experiences.
Diversity refers to variety and difference. Diversity refers to people who belong to various cultural groups or people with different human qualities and opinions. The primary dimensions of diversity include inborn differences or differences that can seldom change and have an ongoing impact throughout one’s life such as age, sexual orientation, race and so on. These cannot be changed. We can do nothing about our race or our colour so we must learn to accept these differences exist.
If and when we decide to change our attitudes we must then:
- Be willing to learn to adapt to difference and be inclusive of a diverse range of work styles and life styles;
- Be prepared to accept innovative and diverse thought processes and that others have a wide and diverse variety of individual needs;
- Ensure we try to get to know, understand and work to key societal values and practices;
- Try to foster consultative and representative decision making and problem solving in our work places.
Each and every individual must:
- Accept there is diversity all around us and strive to cultivate communication in this diverse society with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures;
- Listen more carefully and try to understand the thinking of others;
- Identify and use diversity to foster adaptability and innovation. Our way might not necessarily be the right way, other people have different ways of doing things
- Try to develop cross-cultural skills, awareness and competence in all members of our workforces in order to improve business operations and customer service
In order to bring about change and engender harmony in the society in which we live and work each of us has a responsibility to:
- See each individual as a culture of one – there is no difference between us;
- Achieve clear vision by avoiding stereotypes – putting people in boxes;
- Avoid assumptions, acknowledging variety and cultivating innovation.
Change is constant and is inevitable but we still resist it. A lack of trust increases this resistance. Lack of trust can lead to poor communication because people hear what they want to hear. Poor communication leads to incorrect information and the start of rumors
Change requires something to end. With endings comes the experience of loss. It is primarily because of these losses, both real and anticipated, that we resist change.
But with every ending comes a new beginning. Are you prepared to change?
Des Squire (Managing Member)AMSI and Associates [email protected]