Change must happen but who must change? 6


Recently while training on “Change Management” I was asked – How do you deal with people who refuse to change or who refuse to embrace change? My response was – Have you considered that perhaps it is you who needs to change?

The problem is we see everything through “our own eyes” and we see things as always having been done in a certain way and fail to see things from the point of view of others. We live in the past and act as we have always acted. We see the faults of others but fail to see or acknowledge our own. We condemn others for having poor attitudes and fail to consider our own attitude to various circumstances we find ourselves in. For change and transformation to take place effectively we all need to consider where we presently stand and what we as individuals need to change.

We live in a society of where reconciliation and change is essential. Do we understand what this means? Reconciliation indicates understanding, compromise and a bringing together.  But in order to achieve such reconciliation there needs to be an effort made and changes made by all parties.

We want to see transformation and change. Once again what does this mean? It means a change in thinking, a renovation of ideas and/or an alteration in attitude. The question we need to ask then is who must be transformed and who must change?

The world is in turmoil and dramatic change is required if we are to survive. South Africa is in turmoil and change is essential – a change in thinking, a change in attitude and a change in direction. If we want to change the world, if we want to change the workplace, if we want to change society we must first change ourselves, our personal thinking and our attitude.

Leaders throughout the world talk about change and require change of others. Leaders in the workplace want the employees to change. Leaders in society demand societal change. Continually the demands made are for others to change. Are these leaders prepared to change and invite others to follow? Are they prepared to lead by example?

What all need to just STOP right where we are and consider what needs to change or be transformed. We need to consider the problems that exist today and do something about these. There is no point in having fancy ideas about what we want to create for South Africa going forward. The problems are here and now. We need to change our approach to what we currently have and to put what is currently wrong right before we can ever go forward.

Let’s all try to start on a journey of self discovery and commence the process of personal change. “If you can change your thinking you can change your life”


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About Des Squire

I specialise in Employment Equity and Skills Development issues. Qualified facilitator, assessor, moderator, verifier and SDF. Available for any related assignments and or freelance work. If ou have a need let's meet to discuss. Quotes for training on request.

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6 thoughts on “Change must happen but who must change?

  • Des Squire Post author

    Thank you all for your comments. If the importance, the dignity and the safety of our people was given even the slightest consideration by our government then they would, as I suggest stop everything and complete current projects 100% and at an acceptable standard. When projects are undertaken they are for political point scoring purposes, including the portapotties I believe. Why not build proper houses in the first place and not 5th class homes. Why not abolish squatter camps and informal settlements altogether – there is nothing dignified about having to live under such conditions. Yes we need to change our attitudes, as Hannes says – with “integrity and a clear vision, promoting the interests of the community, not the individual” Only then can we offer people the dignity they deserve.

    Also on the issue of change let me ask another question – do we, as individuals with personal beliefs, have the right to judge others or to tell others they are wrong??? Think about this.

  • Sylvia F. Hammond

    Ah now that’s why I love my skills-universe members so much – thank you Hannes and Jacqui – may I stir the pot please.  Let’s take a step back. Jacqui has raised such a good example.

    Why are the houses so far off?  I suggest because they are not prioritised sufficiently highly.  Yes, we cannot do everything that so desperately needs to be done – but we can re-order the shopping list.  

    We have managed to purchase vast amounts of defence equipment (I never understood against whom we were defending).  If it were vessels and sea defence then yes – definitely we need that to protect our fishing reserves against the factory vessels.  Oh yes, and we purchased a presidential jet.

    We also managed to build a soccer stadium in – it is now acknowledged – entirely the wrong place!

    If we were actually at war – we would find what was necessary to defend ourselves.

    So I throw into the pot what we need to change is our assumptions – and particularly our priorities.  if we raised the importance of the dignity and safety of our people to a higher priority on our list – we would have behaved differently.

    My opinion – appreciate yours. 

  • Dr Jacqueline Baumgardt (Jax)

    Change for the sake of change is really a waste of energy. There have to be cogent reasons for change otherwise people will stick the tried and true ways of doing things. I think of the portapotties that have been introduced in Cape Town informal settlements. The people were using long drops; women were unsafe if they had to use them at night, disease was rampant but first the did not want portapotties – they wanted houses with real loos. Clearly they were reaching for the moon. CT introduced the portapotties irrespective as a better alternative to long-drops (I just edited  a thesis on this) and the community have accepted them as such. They know that houses are a long way off, but at least they now have better (although not 100% ideal) sanitation. If a situation becomes uncomfortable enough, people will change. In other words, leadership creates the change and if it’s for the better, people will tend to follow. Talk without action from leadership achieves nothing. I hope this make sense.

  • Hannes Nel

    Very true, Des. Of course this little issue called ‘perception’ creeps in. Who must change? I guess everybody needs to rethink our attitudes and values. Change MUST always be a step forward, never backward. And to use yet another cliché – forward as perceived by who? This is where attitude and intent comes into play. I believe that change can only be a step forward if it is done with integrity and a clear vision, promoting the interests of the community, not the individual, in mind.