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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The "Change Agent"....

Change, as in things change, doing something different or changing things up. Some folks HATE change, no matter what it is, with a passion. Even if they ultimately will benefit, even monetarily they resist it... I think because change makes people very uncomfortable. It can take even the most grounded person right out of their comfort zone...

 I, on the other having always felt like I accept change fairly well and do for the most part. But I don't always care for it and I'm always more comfortable if I have a role in the change, either it was an idea I approved, my own idea or I was asked about it ahead of time. Then it feels like I participated and some how that makes it easier....don't ask why?!

I should hope I would like change at least to some's what I did for a living for quite a long time. I worked implementing change in a production environment for a major office furniture manufacturer, first as a Continuous Improvement Team Member then as a Work Team Leader (Supervisor) in Production Management.

And that's what we did was come up with various ways to improve: cost, productivity, output, logistics...nothing was sacred. Then we moved in and made the changes, whether the folks in that particular department agreed with us or not. Oh, we usually included a "token" member of the area but what were they going to do? Resist change, uh, NO WAY. That was the kiss of death. You did not want to get labeled as someone who wasn't open to new ideas. That was a sure way to be on the wrong  end of a job reduction event!

Anyway I ended up hating it...when I fist got involved in Continuous Improvement it was new and exciting. The principles were borrowed from the Toyota Production System and we were sent all over the place to seminars, certification really was a cool new thing.

An I loved the challenge of truly trying to improve a process or product...but with competition in the market place so cut throat, CI quickly became focused mainly on cost savings and cost reduction. And one of the areas where it's easy to eliminate cost is labor. American Production and Manufacturing Plants in the 70's, 80's and 90's were notoriously bloated with too much labor.

Lets face it doing work that effected peoples employment made you a very unpopular guy...even if that wasn't really what we were doing most folks at our company thought we were so it goes with out saying that they hated us. It felt personal because in their eyes it was their job and we could take it away. I'm glad those days are over...

But folks still hate change even when it has nothing to do with their work or them personally. What got me thinking about this today was I attended a meeting this morning. And typically there has been a routine way that particular meeting is run. We simply made some small basic changes to the format of it and ...WALAA...folks aren't happy. Actually it ended up good in the end but for a brief moment the experience did flash-me-back to those not so happy days as a "Change Agent"...


  1. I'm not one that likes change whenever it is or where ever in my life. I think its a mixture between being out of my comfort zone and not being in control of the changing situation around me. Great read again though.

  2. change is the only constant brother

  3. I used to embrace change...but then, things, um...changed. Now it freaks my freak a little bit. I probably don't need to explain why...You've read my blog : )