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Change- Embrace Change or cease to exist

Posted on 15 November, 2021 at 13:57

“He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution that rejects progress is the cemetery” Harold Wilson. Change is an act of alteration, betterment, differentiation, innovation, substitution, replacement to say the least. There is a need for organizational stakeholders to understand change itself and its importance so that implementation becomes an easy process.

Friedrich Nietzsche says that the snake that cannot cast its skin has to die, as well the minds that are prevented from changing their opinions, they generally cease being minds. This is because progress is impossible to achieve without implementing change. Progress means moving from point A to point B. It is also impossible to exist without changing because change is the rule of life, is inevitable, and is observed in every turn that life takes us through. Constant development becomes then the ultimate law of life and inability to change is a curse to existence because to exist is to change, whether the change is imposed or initiated. After an enormous elephant took away uNananas very reason of existence she was forced to make some changes. 

UNanana and the big elephant

UNanana lived in a small hut with her beautiful children between the village and the bushes. In the bushes lived wild animals so uNanana was always there protective of her children. One day she had to leave the house to go fetch firewood so she could make food for her children. She made sure to leave the children with their little cousin. In her absence, a baboon, a gazelle, and a leopard passed by her compound and saw her beautiful children but could not eat them but only admired their beauty. A very big elephant with only one tusk also came but did not only admire the children but rather swallowed them. The little cousin was helpless that she cried until uNanana was back.  As hurt and devastated as she was, uNanana gathered her firewood and she took a handful of beans and cooked.  She took the pot with cooked beans and a long sharp knife and left to begin the search for her children. With a heavy heart, she was brave enough to search the bush for the elephant when she came across big scary animals that she confronted asking of her children.  She met the baboon, and the gazelle, and the leopard that were happy to help her find her beautiful daughter and son. After a while, she saw the big elephant with one tusk. She had never seen such a big elephant before, but as terrified and small as she looked in front of the elephant; she stood her ground and confronted him. “Are you the one who took my children?” the elephant denied but uNanana did not believe him so she kept moving towards him. He then opened his big mouth and swallowed her. Which is what uNanana was hoping he does. She slipped down his long throat and landed on his stomach. The elephant's stomach was like long red rolling hills. The roof was like a wide red sunset sky. On the hills, she saw men, women, children, cows, goats, dogs, and chickens. Down in a valley, she found her children. They were scared, hungry, and they had missed their mother. UNanana gave them each a hug and then the pot of beans to eat. Everyone came to gather around her to ask for food claiming to be hungry. She instead told them to drink the milk from the cows and goats and cook the eggs from the chickens and make the fire very hot. When the cooking started, the elephant began to burn. He roared such that all animals in the bush came to see what the matter was. The elephant told them that ever since he swallowed uNanani his stomach has been killing him, but the animals did not pity him. They got mad why he ate uNanans beautiful children. It was not long when the animal fell dead. Then she took out her long sharp knife and made a doorway between the ribs of the elephant. Everyone, the cows, goats, chickens, and dogs marched out of the belly celebrating uNanana, seeing heroin in her. When everyone was out, they all went and gathered gifts for her and presented them. By the time she got home, she had many things, and that night they had elephant stew as dinner.

When it comes to change and change management, there are two types of people. The brave and the coward, the visionary and the realist, the optimist, and the pessimist.

When operating an organization, you are their uNanana or the little cousin.

Are you brave enough to face challenges or u shy away and hope it turns out for the better?

Do you give more reasons as to why a goal cannot be achieved or do you always see an opportunity in every situation?

Do you have a vision you want to see come true or are you a realist?

Realists unlike visionaries who are flexible and innovative in the implementation of an idea that can see their vision through, are logical, they take things as they are. They deal with facts.

‘If your child has been swallowed by a huge elephant then u putting yourself at risk because you will definitely be eaten,’ a realist would say. A visionary would be like ‘I will die trying, I will find a way, and I will see my vision through no matter what.  

A realist would also say ‘let us just stay back home rather than taking the vaccine that is not proven to have any effects and will not kill the covid -19 bacteria’.

A visionary will say ‘let us take the vaccine and go back to work, because who knows this might be a better chance, rather do something than nothing at all.

Whilst everyone was still comfortable and content in the way they were performing and how organizations were operating, thinking not about change, the world presented its own noticeable change forcing people to waver, wonder and fear for their lives more than the sources of income that actually make their lives livable. Everyone was forced to stop fighting the old and build the new. In an environment where coronavirus took over everything and brought a negative change that brought not only death but also doubt for a better future, many organization went down the drain.  To thrive, it took great organisations that started and continued to exist because they are engineered by those whose dream is to transform the world. Yes, some organisations also continued to survive but some goals were not achieved, some potential sank, some no longer visualize their dream because of failure to adapt and implement change when Covid-19 struck.  â€œContinuity gives us only roots but change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights” Pauline R. Kezer.

To understand the importance of change, NGOs should firstly understand their purpose. Without a full understanding of the dream, without visualizing a bigger picture, it becomes impossible to implement and manage change in an organization. UNanana lived comfortably with her children in her little hut, but a gigantic wave came and turned her life upside down.  She was suddenly robbed of her reason to live, and instead of crying over it like what the little cousin did, she became strong, thought of a plan, and made her way to face her problem head-on.  UNanana did not think of a way out when she was already in the elephant's stomach, but she left her hut with a long sharp knife intending not to die in the elephant’s stomach.  Succumbing to the effects of covid-19 since 2019, many organizations were shaken, and there was no security for jobs or security for food, for health, for women empowerment, for skills development. All hope was swept off in the least expected way. It took organizations that understood that in the ability to change lies the security of survival.

Whether the change is initiated or imposed, our minds should always be channeled to accept change. In an organization, nothing is as scary and painful as change but the pain is nothing compared to staying stuck somewhere you do not belong. Those who cannot change their minds and attitudes cease to exist. It is impossible not to change if there is a goal to chase. In a race, the goal is to come first. There is competition that will force the racer not to maintain his same speed, because he has a goal, he will increase his speed, slow it here and there, and that is change.

Imagine if water was to be taken away from crocodiles, how then will they survive on land?

Imagine after being struck by COVID-19, locked down, isolated from everything, in an environment with no internet, how then were we going to guarantee the survival of organizations let alone achievement of the main goal? 

UNanana did not succumb to fear, she ran towards it, because she refused to exist with no reason to. Even inside the elephant's stomach, she refused to be hungry, she refused to be stuck in there, a solution that some had not seen since being swallowed, uNanana presented to them. Sometimes change does not require you to go through milestones, sometimes it does not even require you to change, because, at the end of the day, people do not change, goals do not change but the environment does and sometimes we have no control over it. “So change your opinions, keep your principles, change your leaves and intact your roots” Victor Hugo. What is vital is to change what is already changing. Make that environment suitable for your survival, make the environment accept your goals, and make them achievable. Change is easier to implement or manage if there is a backup plan of a backup plan. There’s a need to prepare for worst-case scenarios, sometimes even the backup plan of a back plan might not work, but cultivating a culture of change, gives room for progress, even, transformation just as Nick Candito says that organisations that change may survive, but those that transform thrive. Change brings incremental or small-scale adaptations, while transformation brings great improvements that ripple through the future of an organization.
Washington Irving also believes that there’s also a certain relief brought by change even if it might be from bad to worse, as he has found traveling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one's position and be bruised in a new place. That is the ability to realize the possibility of change and implement measures before the change.  We also learn to stand up for ourselves. The little cousin was there to guard uNanana's children, but because they were not hers, she could not go the extra mile to retrieve the children from the huge elephant. As nonprofits, over-dependence can destroy the dream we have. Due to environmental, political, socio-economic to mention a few, funders may drawback and stop offering grants. Are the organization we operate ready enough, do they have a backup plan of a back plan, can they embrace change and be able to hold the bull by its horns like uNanana and be able to fund themselves. The story of uNanana exhibits the power of DIY (doing it yourself spirit). If the dream is yours, own it, fight for it, protect it, and thrive to see it through. As Barack Obama once said, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Change then becomes a small word but whose meaning is great.

Change is critical because there is a vision, a dream to accomplish, that cannot afford circumstances to hinder it, it may be disrupted but the transformation will be the answer to a definite end. The ability to change gives room to sustainability and organizations should thrive to serve the same purpose tomorrow, as they are now, hence the importance of embracing change.

 By Nobukhosi Ndlovu

KFM Marketing Coordinator


NMap Technologies