How will you define the relationship between success and change? At one end, success is by far the biggest catalyst for change. It’s the motivation behind the change. People put immense energy, time and effort in change if they can see tiny hope of success on the horizon. On the other end, success is the biggest roadblock in the path of change. People do not change something that lead them to success. Both these relationships between success and change are widely true for almost everything from heart patients to the business World.
There is always a resistance towards changing something that has given the taste of success. But as everyone knows, change is inevitable. Everything needs to change with time and people employ different means to attain change successfully. So first let’s see what does not work when you are trying to go for a change. First and foremost is fear. Fear is the worst motivator for change. Big corporations know that competitors out there are trying new things. Company executives are aware that they might have to face adverse effects, the stock price might fall and what not, but fear seldom motivates a change.
Next thing that doesn’t work is the force or show of authority. Authority from the Board of Directors and the force from them to meet the numbers does not make executives choose the path of change. They would rather stick to the well proved means in which they have confidence and that got them this far. Another important thing that doesn’t work is facts or information. Corporate executives have no shortage of information. They have all rational information in great depth with thorough research and analysis about how they are doing, where the industry is going, what is their future price to earning ratio and what not, but it doesn’t make them adopt change. Somehow all these facts start to look irrational and the past track record take precedence over everything else.
Same is true for even heart patients. They have lived a life so far in a certain way, and if that’s satisfying for them, to change it fear, force or facts have no role to play. Heart patients do not go for a change even after knowing that unhealthy eating habits and stress can take their lives. Fear does not bring the change. Force from doctors and family members is often incapable of changing the person. Doctor can provide them with accurate information that the change is required, but that doesn’t lead to change.
So now let’s talk about Success – the thing that works to bring change. The hope of success has immense power to lead to change. All the constraints and ego that lay in path of change are shelved instantaneously if there is a glimpse of positive results at the horizon. Giving an example here will be really unfair, because I think whatever change in the business World actually occur is fueled by the hope of success.
Another important thing that is required for a change to occur is the confidence of the people in the leader. People who are asked to implement the change should believe in the leader who is trying to lead the change. What better example here than Apple? Apple required change for more then a decade before it actually went through one. And why did it happen at the turn of the century? Because people in the company believed in the drive Steve Jobs had to bring about the change.
Experience also plays a big role in leading to change. Everyone has a tremendous potential for change, but to go for change, there should be an experience of positive results. Then that thing can be repeated to lead to a bigger change. People wanted a better search engine to use, so they tried Google. This was a positive experience, so they went on to use it again and again; this lead competitors to change their base and improve their search engines. All this is now leading to a massive change which has the potential of changing the World of computing and advertising.
Back to our analogy of heart patients…success, confidence and positive experience plays a major role here as well. Heart patients may change when they see hope on the horizon that the World can be a better place to live, and the people around them will have a better life if they change. By trying the change if they have a positive experience, they will start to believe in it and repeat it time and again to lead to positive change. No one can force a change, but only confidence and determination of the person can lead to it.
One of the biggest dilemma is how to kick-off change. Often the kick-off for change is against ones basic instinct. So the right way to go for it is to do a pilot and expand it. Try to get some short term wins along with keeping the long term view clear. The short term wins inspire people, motivates them and give them hope, which is required to fuel the long run. Success and change can lay down an intense and complex game of snakes and ladders, where success that is pushing back change is the snake which can take you down and the hope of success that motivates you for change is the ladder which can take you to new heights where sky is the limit. What you have to do is roll the dice carefully, because results here can change lives!