The President's Blog

Changes

October 5th, 2016

The implementation of a new strategic plan for Parkland College on its own can be a difficult change experience. If we couple this with the recently announced — but still to be defined — “Transformational Change” contemplated by our provincial government, it may seem that we are going to be overwhelmed by future change.

If being overwhelmed by change is our expectation, then I am pretty certain that will be the case. However, if we view change as an opportunity for improvement and interesting new challenges, then we are in for an extremely exciting future.

Over the years, I have read many books and articles about change, with most containing some description of the continuum of response people have to personal or organizational change. The range of response goes from those who despise even the simplest change to those who spend their time longing for an environment marked by constant change to offset boredom and complacency. If we choose to operate at either end of the change spectrum we are not likely to achieve either personal or organizational success. A balanced approach to change is required for success. Too much change or change that occurs too rapidly often results in failure. Incremental change backed by required supports produces results.

A number of years ago, I read a very compelling work entitled Change or Die by Alan Deutschman. At the outset, the title definitely caught my attention. I can recall the author drawing on the experience of heart patients, criminals, and auto workers to illustrate how difficult change can be and what is required to make change stick. Many people, when faced with the prospect of facing considerable personal harm, will not be able to make the required changes to save themselves. However, with support structures, successful change can occur even in very dire circumstances.

Parkland College’s future will require us to embrace change. This quote from Deutschman provides an excellent lens through which we can view the change we are about to experience:

“Mastering the ability to change isn’t just a crucial strategy for business. It’s a necessity for health. And it’s possibly the one thing that’s most worth learning.”

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