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 the diversity that surrounds us.

What we do going forward can either assist us or inhibit personal progress. We can face up 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 that “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 and 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 – e 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 daily and strive to cultivate communication in this diverse society with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures
We need to listen more carefully and try to understand the thinking of others.
Identifying 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
We should 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.

Des Squire (Managing Member)
AMSI and Associates cc
082 800 9057

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Excellent Article. I think we have a long way to go to towards increasing the consciousness of our selves and our fellow human beings. At the moment we suffer from a type of "metastasis" of our thoughts. Our current reality is formed based on our thoughts about the past, the environment, our work, and our perception of what the future holds. Thus one the quality of our thinking is shaped from a basis that is fundamentality flawed. Metastic thinking implies that one bad thought could serve as the basis for another, thus affecting our thinking and ultimately our reality. 

To change is painful, as it is uncertain, uncharted and increasingly, we have to divorce ourselves from the metastasis of our previous thinking, in order to drive our ever accelerating evolution. However, if we can become aware of what it is that we create with our thoughts, we can change it. To be aware starts with small things. Be aware of the consequences of your actions on the lives of others. Be aware of the real outcome your actions bear.

I think that you spoke about the heart of resistance when you said that change is toxic but also a tonic.  Change feels so uncertain and sometimes it threatens our world views or the way that we have looked at life, ourselves or other people.  It brings a form of crisis, in a sense, because we let go of set ideas or beliefs which as you explain, we used to hold as the only ones.  There's quite a lovely chapter about Agape Healing Community in Pretoria, where the writers describe the need to go into the crisis and embrace it, as difficult as that is, because it is this crisis or questioning without set answers or theories which brings transformation.  Change isn't easy but in diversity work in particular, when it happens, as you say, it can enrich your life and be a tonic.

Hi Des as someone who works in the field of change I have had to learn to hold this change dilemma without an answer. Getting people to change inside corporates is a a lot easier  (have done a few reasonably large ones quite successfully mainly because it always boils down to do I keep my job or change which is an impelling lever) When it comes attitude change is not something we just do. It relates to human identity and most often people have to be desperate or broken before they will look at attitude. The most successful programs involve inviting something bigger than you to change you which is often seen as esoteric or religious. Human beings are addictive by nature and will unwillingly give up anything that is patterned even something that terrorizes or destroys them. The the real answer for me is not attitude change but rather developing the capacity to receive and give love which is completely unconditional. This sounds mushy and silly but in the 15 years of working in change it been the one thing that has consistently worked in a practical way. Thanks for the great article



Very good, Des! Yes, we actually should embrace change because there are always opportunities if we were to take the trouble to observe and think. You are actually confusing me somewhat, though. As I mentioned previously, we at Mentornet organise a breakfast workshop once a quarter on a salient topic. I have in mind arranging our last one for the first week of December here at Mentornet on management of change in private learning institutions. But we can only accommodate 20 delegates, and Sylvia suggested that we do this in co-operation with the APPETD, which is probably a good idea. I am hoping to speak to Cynthia early in November about this. However, with you and Dr Wynand Goosen writing such good stuff I am beginning to wonder if we should not arrange a full one-day conference on managing change early next year. I would not mind at all if the APPETD would take the initiatve and arrange the event under their name. I would glady be just a speaker. After all, we are trying to manage change and managing change requires co-operation. If we continue with our breakfast workshop I would like you and all the other experts out there to join us. Just keep in mind that we can accommodate only 20 people. Hannes Nel

Hi Hannes,

I am not quite sure wht the confusion is, can you please advise?  

The contents of your article is quite clear, Des. My confusion is if I should continue with our quarterly breakfast workshop, if it should be a breakfast workshop in co-operation with the APPETD, if it should be a one-day conference. Regards, Hannes Nel

Hi Hannes

Thank you for clarifying, I thought for a moment I migh be "treading on someone's corns" Since i am not activly involved in the monthly meetings or with APPETD I must lave this decision to you. If requested to do so I will be happy to participate. Why not speak to Sylvia and Alan to see if it cannot be done under the auspices of Sklills Universe/Skills Portal. Personally I fel we get more from these sites than from APPETD.   

Sylvia suggested that I speak to the APPETD and Cynthia seems to be quite interested. I am really impressed by the mature manner in which Skills Universe and the APPETD co-operate in the interest of promoting private learning. JPN

Thanks for a great article. I agree wholeheartedly that we should embrace change. One of the things that I have discovered is that reisstance to change occurs when change is thrust upon individuals or groupings without elements such as consultation communication, listening which Des refers to. The absence of these fundamental elements creates lack of trust beteween the parties and thus resistance to acceptance whereas a positive environment with these elements present  there could be a sense of acceptance and a buy-in to the change proposed with people. When an invidual or group are allowed to take ownership of such change then ther could very well be also be actice participation in giving effect to the change proposed

Thanks for this very good article Des.

Just to add to this discussion, I would like to point out that in the corporate world,competition demands innovation and vision.To accomplish change in an organization is not managing change only but managing change through people.

Change is a process that has to be managed effectively and efficiently.In order to manage change ,there must be some of the following processes to take into account;Education and awareness of the intention to institute a change,participation and involvement of the entire workforce or the department targeted,communication and support to the employees to allay fears and anxiety,Negotiation,remuneration and agreement where there is need to offer additional or new incentives.An introduction of a change agent can also assist in the transparency of the change process.Once again thanks Des.

I have been involved in change in the public and private sectors, and it looks as though change is equally uncomfortable for the people in both sectors. Even when people know that the change is going to make life easier for them, most still react with caution and often resistance.  It is the minority who embrace it and make it work for them, looking for the advantages and enjoying the benefits which come from it.

Thanks Des for a good discussion again - and everyone for their contributions - I have taken the liberty of copying and pasting a comment from another discussion about national unity - from one of our members - Tebogo Boroto

"The problem is that we are like the Spanish bull-fight. The Matador, the Red flag, the Bull and the Crowd. We seem to see the government as the matador, the policies, the acts and other governing guides as the red flag. Business is more like the bull and the crowd is divided in two; those who are running in the streets just enjoying the cameraderie with no care in the world and the second group comprise of those who are already in the stadium sitting and waiting for the fight to begin in the safety of the grandstands."

I was incredibly impressed with this insight because to me it explains exactly where we are in SA today - we've all adopted our "sides" and our "roles" - & are entrenched in our beliefs & reluctant to change.  However, I'm eternally positive about South Africa & what we've achieved so far - and so I believe that if we can think a changed future we can achieve it, and from this discussion we have the people who have the knowledge and maturity and insight to support the process.  So Hannes, all power to you & your suggestions.

One last comment - day by day I become more certain that our allegedly "free" press is responsible for supporting all those old ideas, old paradigms & reinforcing all those people who can't contemplate change.


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