Today, changes are taking place at a fast pace, often demanding a paradigm shift in the mindset and the policy framework to manage that change. It is not always easy

It is generally agreed that change is the law of life. The body changes, the mind changes, the environment changes, and so does everything else. It is creating a synergy amongst the different paces of change of different entities that is a core concern for management action. The response to this concern needs tactics, the conglomerate of tactics makes for a strategy, and putting together various strategies leads to a policy. The long and short of it is putting the proposition on its feet.

This cyclical insight into the management of change is one of the core propositions of management. Management action itself is embedded in an environment. This environment in recent history has also, been changing at an unprecedented pace over the last century or so. The two world wars contributed to the need for theories related to the management of change. The Second World War and its conclusion led to many wars across the globe. They were over the de-construction of empires and a new kind of war, which was termed as “Cold War”. Much of this was converted or evolved into many regional conflicts. Some of them have lasted over decades and are still unresolved. That is another story. The core propositions are simple, one of them is the role technology has played in creating fast-paced changes, and the other is the nature of aspirational communities, which have been emerging all over the globe in different forms and shapes, and all seeking a place under the sun. 

Gradually, a global class has emerged dealing with some common issues in different parts of the globe. There are several regional issues too. Talking of the global pattern of change, a few commonalities can be discerned, one of them is the way people define their aspirations. Not so long ago, loyalties to some well-timed tested values like honouring one’s word or standing by an old relationship were considered a pillar of social norms. Now, whereas some people still remember the above values, there are others who have ‘moved beyond’ them. By and large, it is an amorphous group with an amorphous identity which found in different parts of the world and sometimes circulates. Dealing with this kind of value amongst the people who matter can be a tricky affair because it requires different insights into organizational dynamics. The people in their twenties, thirties, and forties are particularly overtaken by these values. They constitute the bulk of the workforce across organisations. This means that much that has been learned through management classes has to be redefined and reordered.

The older generation of people in their fifties and sixties have a challenge at hand in dealing with the younger generations. To cap it all, there are few books written on all this and the public orientation on all this is still little. The generation in their fifties, sixties and more have learnt and grown up in values that are getting limited mileage. This requires considerable abilities in self-generation. It also needs the ability to straddle across groups of people with values very different to their own. What is needed is a minimal few days ‘retreat’ for self introspection which would apply to people in their fifties, sixties or more to reorient to a changing world.

Nor is this all. It requires great skills and dealing with the unknown, fast changes, and undefined ‘self-interest’. This itself has put many organisations in a crucible of undefined change. The larger recourse seems to be to let nature take its course the very antithesis of goal-directed activity. Introspection by those capable of self-direction and self-growth will be required when in leadership positions. Not only workplaces are changing, the families and their orientation are also changing. The old norms of community living and joint family structure have, often, given way to deciphered and not clearly understood patterns of a unitary family. 

Separations and divorces among couples have become more common. In turn, the child in the family is getting affected. Not all parents come across as one unit to the child, nor does the child always get the share of time that is necessary for its well-formed growth. In certain communities, the state has tried to carve out its role in the growth of the child and made itself an appellate authority, but that has also not worked as comprehensively as was the expectation.

Under the circumstances, it seems a high priority to teach people how to be calm and introspect Certain pristine values like honesty, integrity, and respect for one’s sense of consistency and fair play, remain relevant. This alas cannot be always taught through classrooms, textbooks, or teaching through a syllabus. For this, an eco-system has to be created of self-analysis and self-development. The emerging learning theories will have to factor these in and a culture would have to be created where self-learning is the heart of the matter. In all this careful parenting which is futuristic and far-sighted may hold the key

(The writer is a management consultant. The views expressed are personal)