Change And Change Management

What is change?  Change is movement towards a future desired state.  When the change is desired, planned, or expected, it does not cause anxiety.  Otherwise, change that is unexpected, unplanned, or not desired can cause anxiety and stress.  Some changes that are unexpected are most welcome such as an unexpected promotion, gift, or praise.  The reason that unexpected, unplanned, or undesired change causes anguish is because human beings desire status quo. The reason human beings prefer status quo is that any change will bring the unexpected with it such as new learning, new environment, new job responsibilities or even change of location that could result in undesired results and threat to our self-esteem.  Unfortunately, change is constant and inevitable.  However, there are methods which can be adopted to manage all changes so as to minimize or eliminate anxiety and stress.  This requires us to develop self-management skills.  Many books have been written about change management, but all change management begins with self-management because systems, organizations, societies undergoing change consist of human beings that are the cause of change, subjects of change and managers of change.

Self-management begins with self-awareness.  Self-awareness is the ability to observe the thinking mind and the ability to observe and monitor your thoughts and accurately label your feelings.  Self-awareness helps you understand your thoughts, emotions, triggers and how they combine to create stories, meaning, and interpretation.

For those of you undergoing change, the first step is to lose the inertia and create action to bring about the change that is expected.  In yogic terms, tamas must be transformed into rajas – apathy and insensitiveness into energetic, enthusiastic activity.  The energy of this action should be harnessed and channeled properly for the energy of rajas is self-centered and dispersed; it must be harnessed to a higher ideal by will.  The third step is to focus completely on the action or steps that are required to bring about change and complete the process of change to the desired state or outcome.  Again, in yogic terms, when all this passionate energy is channeled into selfless action, the final state is marked by the happiness, calmness of mind, abundant vitality, and the concentration of genius, and represents the qualities of sattva.

The fear of change is a perception issue.  What is perception?  Perception is a function of belief systems and information input.  So, to shift your perceptions you need to change your belief systems and censor information input.  In terms of organizational change, this means that one must educate themselves about their own feelings, nature of change, the reason for the change, future desired state (from the point of view of the organization), expectations of the employer, your role in the change process, and benefits that will be realized to self and the organization as a result of successful change.  Shift in belief requires that you must understand the cause of fear, nature of fear, what is holding you back and what is required to move you ahead.  This process is best done using the principles of Kriya yoga.  The three step process of Kriya yoga is delineated as follows:

  1. Svadhyaya: Svadhyaya means self study, introspection, self reflection.  Reflection, introspection, understanding who you are, what is required to propel you into action, and what you want to create are all about Svadhyaya.  This can be done easily by focusing and staying connected in the present and investing in being.  You cannot fully develop your potential without awareness of faulty assumptions, faulty perceptions, and knowledge about your contributions to a situation, and habits that don’t serve you.  Such awareness, knowledge of a desired future state, and commitment to change is Svadhyaya.
  2. Tapas: Tapas means discipline.  According to Eknath Eswaran tapas is the “forgoing of immediate personal gratification for something larger and more worthwhile.”  Understanding tapas means accepting that you are in charge of your motivation, morale and responsible for consequences of your actions resulting from motivations.  Hence, tapas involves a choice or a will of embarking upon a journey to better ourselves, a journey for organizational good, a journey that will bring challenges, discomfort, and pain before producing results.  Why discomfort and pain?  Because discomfort or pain is a sign that we have reached the limits of our capability.  Tapas helps uncover these limitations and shortcomings within us, helps embrace it, and stimulates introspection and growth.   This might as well apply to organizations too, since individuals in an organization collectively experience pain during the process of change.
  3. Ishwara Pranidhana: Ishwara Pranidhana means surrender, connecting to something larger than you, connecting with the organizational goals.  Ishwara Pranidhana is the voluntary letting go of limited, personal desires for the sake of greater and more fulfilling experience.  Self surrender is the willing dedication of time, energy, effort, and achievement in the hopes of contributing towards a greater purpose.  This leads to suppression of ego and destruction of false self-image, flawed perceptions, that are necessary for positive change to occur.

Change management is all about supporting individual employees during the transition to stay motivated, contribute successfully, address individual fears, and paint a vision that employees will embrace for individual growth and happiness.  So, change management is all about managing employees during the change process.  Hence the practice of Kriya yoga is essential for organizations to successfully accomplish changes that are voluntary and planned or thrust upon them.

About Kammitment:  Led by scientist and life-coach Kamalesh (Kam) Rao, Kammitment helps you realize and make a commitment towards self-actualization, through tailored leadership coaching, workshops and programs for students and professionals in all stages of their lives, by drawing upon the time-tested principles of Yoga and Mindfulness.  Kam has spent 20 years as a scientist and a manufacturing professional in the pharmaceuticals industry, and continues to consult with the industry.  In his free time he leads executive coaching programs for Fortune 100 clients.  A certified Yoga instructor, Kam lives in Oakland, CA and is an Improv actor who also enjoys Salsa dancing when he is not practicing Yoga or hiking in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  For further information, please email [email protected]

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