I thought I would say a few words about change as there is a lot of it about at the moment; some of it forced upon businesses and some of it as the result of businesses seizing opportunities. There was an interesting discussion recently on Twitter organised by the Inclusivity Project during National Inclusion Week. The Inclusivity Project helps small-to-medium businesses in Cornwall & Isles of Scilly to overcome challenges around inclusive employment and workplace wellbeing and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund. During that discussion it was noted that older employees are often thought of as change-resistant; however, they are not, they are changed experienced. And that made me think about successful change programmes.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469 – 1527), the Italian diplomat and philosopher observed:

“It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them.”

The older experienced employee will have seen many attempts at a new order of things, most of which will have foundered on the rocks of the lack of belief in new things. They will also know that changes which bring real benefits to them are good, so will back changes where the benefits are worthwhile and clearly seen at the outset. I am sure very few people kept using a mangle once they saw the benefits of the spin drier.

I’m not a fan of Machiavelli; he encouraged politicians to engage in evil when it would be necessary for political expediency. His book, The Prince, gained notoriety due to claims that it taught “evil recommendations to tyrants to help them maintain their power”.

I’m not a fan of Dizzee Rascal either, but in a different way; I don’t like his music. I admire what he has achieved. For those not familiar with Dizzee Rascal he is a rapper and considered to be the pioneer of grime music in the UK. He has just been awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Dizzee had a troubled childhood, was violent and disruptive and expelled from four schools. Music changed him. Now he is a respected artist, owns a record label, holds an honorary Doctorate of the Arts from the University of East London and now is a MBE.

The reason I mentioned Dizzee, or Mr Rascal as Jeremy Paxman referred to him in a television interview in 2008, is for his words during that interview.

“If you believe you can achieve innit”

That is probably all you need to know about change, you can look all the other stuff up; leadership, consultation, incremental steps, taking people with you, etc. The important thing is.

“If you believe you can achieve innit”

You can see the interview here.


Published by edward620


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