TWO KINDS OF CHANGE: Planned & Unplanned

Gary GruberChange Growth Learning Learning for Leaders LifeTWO KINDS OF CHANGE: Planned & Unplanned
December 27 , 2016 /

TWO KINDS OF CHANGE: Planned & Unplanned

There are two kinds of change, planned and unplanned. While the former is more desirable, it’s not always possible. When planned change can be anticipated there are specific steps to insure that the most effective and successful change is implemented. When change that is precipitated by external factors is not anticipated, the response to the experience may need additional support and guidance in order to embrace unexpected change in the best possible way. In addition to crisis management, there are numerous other responses available.

Change is inevitable and universal.  It is not a matter of whether or not we wish to change.  It is rather how we wish to design and implement change and how we respond to change that we do not control. Whether our concerns are about ourselves, someone else, an organization, a community,  a country, or the world itself, nothing stands still unless it’s dead and even then, especially in living organisms, decay and decomposition set in. 

Nothing grows or evolves or improves or adapts or adjusts without changing.  Even if the change is simply altering an internal response to what is going on outside, the net result is some type of change.  And that internal change may not be so small in the end.  I believe that the more you can change your internal structures and behaviors the more you have opportunities to influence the world where you live. I am fond of this quote, often attributed to Wayne Dyer, although Sigmund Freud was a champion of reframing an individual’s perception: “When you change the way you are looking at things, the things you are looking at change.”


You may be growing your self, your organization, and reshaping and redesigning to meet the needs of the future.  You may be engaged in strategic visioning and making projections with some kind of refined business model or on the personal front, using different and creative approaches to solving problems.  Regardless of our goals or our strategies, it is all about change and how we are going to lead and manage change whether personally or organizationally.

A book that has stuck in my head since graduate school days back in the 60’s was The Dynamics of Planned Change by Lippit, Watson and Westley.  (Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1958).  The very first sentence in that book is “The modern world is, above everything else, a world of rapid change.”  How could they have known what lay in store for the world in the next six decades and moreover, how can we know what lies ahead?  

Have a look at Tom Friedman’s 2016 publication “Thanks For Being Late” wherein he catalogs the rate and pace of change, the impact of the acceleration of flow and the power of the supernova in the world of technology.  The world has changed and continues to change at warp speed which will probably make it difficult for many people to keep pace.  Another insight from Friedman is that complexity has become fast, free, easy and invisible.  “Mobility gives you mass market, broadband gives you access to information digitally, and the cloud stores all the software applications so you can use them anytime anywhere and the cost is zero – it has changed everything.”  Hans Westberg

I have relied often on Margaret Mead’s words of wisdom, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world; indeed  it is the only thing that ever has.”  Much depends on our needs, our goals and our commitments.  

Do you work with a small group of thoughtful, committed people?   If yes, what are the results?   Are planning to make changes for 2017?  Can you list them?  What are the top three?   What is your plan to make sure those happen?  Ready?  Set?  GO!   By the way,  it is not a race to see who is fastest, strongest or who works more or harder.   It is about the meaning and quality of life – at work, at home and in that part of the world where we live and move and enjoy being.  Happy New Year!

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