IntroductionLet us accept this as a fact of life. Change is already happening all around us. It has become a big challenge for all of us. Yet, to understand its need and its dynamics is not rocket science. All it requires is a keen sense of observation and reading about the major developments in the world. Be it in arts, science, social science, technology or whatever, we need to be at least aware of the changes.
Let us briefly discuss the need for change. We need to embrace change because we do not have any choice now. Secondly, only with change can we stay, where we are now. Thirdly, we need advanced technology to navigate these challenging times. For example, we should be IT savvy and should know what is happening all around us. We need to be able to type fast in WhatsApp, Facebook or whatever social media. We need to answer queries over the email. We cannot be ignorant at all. Fourthly, we need to manage change for the future. This is likely to be even more challenging. The day is not far off when we will manage robots at home. We need to at least know what robots will be able to do and not do.
The dynamics of change can be explained to - Changes at an individual level; Changes due to a paradigm shift in organizations; Changes in the society; Changes in cultural practices and Changes that will occur due to technological changes.
Changes at an individual levelThere cannot be a bigger element of change than at this level. We see changes all around us. To survive in the rat race, for example, we need to be multi-skilled. We cannot afford to have just one skill and keep moving around. For example, in the field of IT, knowing SAP in supply-chain management is not enough. One needs hardcore experience in the field to be able to understand the nuances of the particular IT application and to customize it to the needs of the organization.
Merely knowing one's mother tongue is a sheer disaster. Hundreds of thousands who know just Hindi, Tamil or Telugu and so on, but without English speaking and writing skills are found to be wanting in terms of taking up bigger roles. They need to pick up these skills urgently. And in society, the massive changes we see everywhere should make us think of new ways to survive. For example, the most important thing is to earn more than enough at any point in time to pay for the minimum of luxuries. One needs to earn that vital Rs.3000 per month, to take the much faster, neater and most convenient metro trains.
This is a vital aspect of modern life. If that means part-time work, so be it. If that means taking up what is now called "side business", so be it. It should be noted that we do not have any choice at all.
Changes due to a paradigm shift in organizations A paradigm shift is defined as a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions. Translated to the Corporate world, such a paradigm shift occurred after 1991, when the Indian companies were forced to abandon their age-old methods of working and go in for professional management. For example, even companies that were essentially family-owned hired professionals who were given the mandate of day-to-day operations and the owner-managers doing only the supervisory role in strategic decision-making.
This was particularly done in two highly professional companies today - the tyre major called MRF and the Murugappa Group, both of which are headquartered in Chennai. They have grown from strength to strength. Now, look at the composition of the managerial class. All of them are professional managers with an engineering background and managerial experience with proven records in companies. MRF itself has poached many managers from MNC companies and competitors. So has the Murugappa Group.
Now, what will happen to any individual who wants to work in such companies? Simple. He or she has to change and adapt to a particular organizational culture. There is no choice here. And the process has to be fast and the learning curves quite steep.
Changes in the societyFor several changes in the society around us, we just need to observe what is going on. In the metro cities, living in smaller apartments with flexible living spaces and furniture is a new norm. Gone are the individual houses in most parts of urban India. This requires a mindset change for both husband and wife, in a big way. If both are from areas far away from a metro city, they would be getting a culture shock. They would necessarily need to change themselves and their thinking.
And then comes behaviour. In a metro city, it is fruitless to expect the same kind of behavioural patterns that one is accustomed to. You have to be part of a rat race, traffic jams are common and worse, the battle to obtain resources and comforts is so intense. Intense would be office politics too. Navigating all these would mean that the individual has to change.
Changes in cultural practicesAll changes in the cities and big towns would boil down to cultures of the particular city and would cut across religion and caste barriers. For example, it is fine to see women dressed in western fashion in all the metro cities, day in and day out. People would be religious but within limits. Ordering everything from the hotels is quite common in the cities.
This is a broad cultural pattern that is specific to a city and its culture and not to a family. It is the entire families that get so much used to the different ways of eating, dressing and so on in the cities and not vice versa. It is but obvious that the individuals who are new to the city, need to change in ways that largely conform to the cultural practices of the city. This becomes a big change. This change can occur in eating habits, dressing habits and in relationships between people. The formal culture, where people do not bother too much about others is the order of the day in the cities. This is one change that everyone needs to adapt to.
Changes that will occur due to technological changes. Let us not be frightened by technology. Let us not feel intimidated. Let us embrace change as it comes. WhatsApp and Facebook are inevitable in today's world. So is LinkedIn. These are social media vehicles that we need to be part of in a big way and also adapt ourselves to the different ways of using the same, as individuals.
Similarly, we need to be comfortable with the use of computers and with all modern electronic gadgets. Even the uneducated housewives in the rural and semi-urban centers are quite good at the use of mixers and grinders. They also operate the refrigerators with relative ease. They have adapted themselves to change in a big way. They pick up new skills and are also good at managing small businesses from their homes. The list goes on.
All that we need to do is to embrace every aspect of change related to advanced technology and then get to use that to our advantage. If possible, we could go in for the best in class. For instance, an Apple laptop is fabulous in terms of utility and beats all competitors hands down. We could even take a loan to purchase these kinds of best in class goods that offer the best value for money. Doing so would itself mean a mindset change of a tall order.
ConclusionSome common-sense oriented examples from the real world of our lives have been quoted above to discuss the need for change and also the dynamics of change along with some vital parameters.
A good article from the author. Changes are inevitable in human lives. There was a time when only one or two houses had electricity in the whole village. People used to read with candles or kerosene lights. Now nobody will even open their book if there is no electric supply. This is a big change I have seen in my life.
Changes that have come because of technological developments are very useful and brought a lot of change in the lives of human beings. Now almost all houses are having wifi and internet or data with smartphones. Imagine the lockdown days without a smartphone or the internet. That is the difference and the advantage we have with the changes.
Let us be positive and accept the changes that are coming into our lives. Let us use these changes for our betterment. Then we will have good entertainment and happiness in our lives.