Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Towards Integrative Life Planning: Managing Personal and Organisational Change - Part 6 of 6

This article covers the last of the six critical tasks spelled out in terms of the Integrative Life Planning (ILP) approach. 

The first five tasks are seen to have a common denominator, which is change

It has been described how change impacts on both personal and organizational levels. Now, in describing the last task, our attention needs to shift to how we will go about managing personal transition and organizational change.

In terms of the ILP approach, the notion of positive uncertainty, and its relation to decision-making, needs to be spelled out. 

We have to think of positive uncertainty as a whole-brain approach, which needs to be implemented in order to best plan our futures. 

Once we accept that we need a personal plan, which will allow us to make decisions about an uncertain and changing future, will we understand the need to implement ILP principles into our own lives. 

The requirements of the ever-changing and therefore uncertain future, is for a flexible, ambidextrous approach to managing change using both our rational and intuitive minds. In terms of this, we will be required to accept that rational decision-making approaches are no longer sufficient.

What are the implications of this insight? We need to affect a shift in our thinking so that we can start accepting change and uncertainty in a different manner – we need to start thinking of change and uncertainty as something we expect and value! 

At this time, there is a good chance that the majority of people still regard change and uncertainty in a negative light. 

To be able to manage our personal transitions in this ever-changing context, we are challenged to accept change, and to pursue it in our lives. 

By exposing ourselves more and more to the notion of change, we become better and better at dealing with it, and we allow ourselves space within which we can grow and further develop.

In terms of unpacking the issue of change, we will find many alternative approaches to it; for the purposes of the current discussion, we will remain with the triggers of change as spelled out in ILP terms:

  • Change can be the result of a planned event: if, for example, we plan to acquire a new business unit into an existing business, this will certainly translate into change;

  • Change can also be the result of unplanned events: if the holding company of a strategic business unit decides to sell the unit, this can be seen as an unplanned event for the employees, thus translating into unplanned change

  • We also need to identify non-events: if, for some reason or the other, someone does not manage to complete a qualification they are registered for, this becomes a non-event, which may also translate into change; the anticipated promotion may not happen and could require the need for a changed strategy

  • Finally, chronic transitions can be triggered by everyday unhappiness people may endure, such as an ongoing illness, unfulfilled marriages, and the like.
Within the ILP model, we need to define decision-making as a process where we arrange and rearrange facts in order to formulate a suitable choice. 

We will be challenged to first identify goals, and then to achieve them.  We will be required to adapt to change and uncertainty with an approach characterised by both rationale and intuitive elements. 

The final outcome of such process is to get to a place where we recognize the uncertainty of personal development and organisational change. Developing a healthy attitude towards change is the key to this challenge. 

This article was written by Hennie Scheepers and is used with his permission.  Hennie Scheepers obtained his doctorate at the University of Johannesburg and works as a Research, Career Development and Coaching Consultant.

Please feel free to leave your comments, questions or insights in the comments section below.  We would like to hear from you. 

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