Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Which is Better Strategy: Adapt to Change or Mitigate the Change?

Newton’s third law: Every action has a reaction.

Change is inevitable ,the speed of change is expedited. There are too many different types of change management initiatives, so there is no one size fits all approach to successfully managing change. Organizations today are more dynamic than ever, there are Big’C’ changes such as digital transformation, merging organizations with overlapping or duplicate functions, and little ‘c’changes such as implement a new software tool, reorganize a department, improving a new process to do things more efficiently. But too often changes are made as a reaction to outer impulses, crisis, and demands. Which one is the better strategy: Adapting to a changing climate, or taking logical steps to mitigate the changes that are already underway?

  • Adaptation is an inherent characteristic of humans, and mitigation is a consequence of failure to adapt fast to rapid changes: According to Newton’s Third Law: Every action has reaction; the reactions result into further actions and cycle goes on. What is sustainable is when equilibrium occurs, etc., the reactions call for no more incremental actions and thus no incremental reactions; this thus moves when both adaptation and mitigation balances; if one is followed a complete change will be there, this is what history witnesses. Thus, keeping a clear focus on the "desired/defined end results" and change, adapt to, and/or mitigate is "practical" way for the existing change plan to bring about the goals of tomorrow. Change is always in progress. We need the flexibility to adapt "in-stride" as necessary to move the goal post as we discover the knowledge and events of tomorrow. We all want progress, but as directions change we must be able to adjust.
  • It is critical that both strategies be employed: Mitigation, in its most general sense, will lessen the impact and severity of the current climate change trajectory over time. In parallel, adaptation will allow business to better adjust to the current and foreseeable reality. However, equilibrium can not be the end game, rather, at the point of equilibrium, the need for adaptation should be minimized and the shift of emphasis towards mitigation activities could begin to allow the environment to reverse the adverse impact of the current climate change trajectory.
  • Mitigation and adaptation are like two sides of the coin: At an operational level, mitigation will win the toss! But it cannot be without adaptation. The adaptation is inherent in this sense. And at the strategic level, adaptation is the approach to foresee the business dynamic and prepare the best scenario to adapt to it. An appropriate balance of both mitigation and adaptation is required to the point where equilibrium is reached.
There are too many different types of change management initiatives, so there is no one size fits all approach to successfully managing change. But pay more attention to these pitfalls to change. A clear vision, step-wise planning, positive emotions, talent competency, cost effectiveness, and right timing are all important factors to lead change, large or small in an effective way.


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