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Rich’s Rules for Change # 2: Another Big Bang!

March 17, 2017

Rich's Rules Titlecard

The Big Bang Theory proposes the universe originated with an explosion from a single point of energy density (singularity) and continued inflating over billions of years to become the cosmos we now know.

Change Was Suddenly Exploding and Expanding

My earliest change management presentations were given at pharmaceutical and health care conferences around the U.S. in the early 1990s. At that time you could expect change to significantly impact your business or personal life about every three years. Over time that rate of change – or the change curves – began to move from three years to 1.5 years and continued to accelerate. Not only that, but the changes began to occur in multiple areas of a person’s life so that one needed to manage many simultaneous shifts. Like a plate juggler tossing a few chain saws into the mix while ducking unpredictable fast balls from unknown directions and mean people who sucked.

Changes + Challenges = Choices

Today more and more people are subjected to Changes driven by technology that impact the workplace, markets, nations, communities, households – and budgets.  These bring new and more Challenges, such as keeping the pace, figuring out what comes next and taking aim at the new. And questions such as, “How do you know when to fully embrace the new and let go of the old?” or “How do you pay for essential upgrades in technology, tools and training?”

So many Challenges and so little time. And Choices. One the one hand, it’s a great benefit to have so many choices available at one’s fingertips. On the other hand, living in a world that pushes you to make choices – for better or worse, whether you want to or not and regardless of how ready you might be is problematic. Not to mention being pushed to decide with total disregard for your personality style and preferences for managing change.

Your Own Personal Big Bang

I knew I had found a tool for engaging with younger workers when I saw Sheldon and company on The Big Bang Theory using a S.W.O.T. Analysis to address a perplexing issue. In the past week alone I facilitated S.W.O.T. analysis sessions with hundreds of younger workers in half a dozen meetings. If you’re not familiar with the tool, S.W.O.T. is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. The exercise is used in early stages of traditional strategic planning sessions to facilitate discussion and prepare a group for planning and goal setting – or taking aim at the future. You can also do a personal one. I recommend it. Sometimes a strength can also be a weakness, and a threat could be an opportunity, as indicated in the boxes.  And sometimes a S.W.O.T. Analysis can lead to the Big Bang idea that ignites your universe with new direction and powerful motion.

Here’s an example of how your S.W.O.T. might look…

Strengths / Weaknesses

Personality – Friendliness / Personality – Assertiveness

Customer service skills / Lack of management skills

Years of experience / Lack of experience in areas for promotion

High level of education / Lack of training in areas for advancement

Highly developed expertise / Lack of expertise in certain new skill sets

Opportunities / Threats

Specialize in new areas / Automation of your work area

Advancement / Changing skills set requirements

Demand for skilled professionals / Competition in your field or business

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