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My Ancestor, The Caveman

Despite what most people may think, change is not unknown to humans. In fact, change is, perhaps, the only non-ephemeral, inevitable, most common and permanent condition in the history of the human species. After death, of course.

By Greg Pritchett, Managing Director, Marval Software


Certain as death and taxes, change is indeed a law of nature. The survival of the first human communities (actually, the survival of any live community, human or other) has always been dependent on perpetual, interminable and uninterrupted change. Change is what made us adjustable and resilient to nature, the antagonising weather or even other species or communities.

Charles Darwin once said: “It is not the strongest nor the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change”, emphasising on the need for adaptability and flexibility. As for individuals, managing change effectively is a critical factor for the viability and sustainability of any enterprise. In today’s organisations, though, change is often classified as an inevitable, yet unwelcomed situation. People tend to consider change an upsetting corollary and several organisations resist the idea of adopting new working models, more advanced tools or (God forbid!) a fresh culture.

While we tend to consider change our worst enemy, our ancestor, the caveman, had the brilliance and inventiveness to accept and embrace change as their best ally. Cavemen used their ever-changing and often challenging conditions as an opportunity to innovate, develop new tools, form new operating models and increase team collaboration. They employed their best skills and assets and used any available resources efficiently, while making sure that no member of the team was left behind.

Were cavemen smarter than us? Based on what we know today, rather not. Just driven by a basic need to survive, evolve and grow; and that need was mightier than any form of intelligence and wisdom.

Introducing a new culture is never easy and yes, people may find the process distressing and discomforting. Contrary to our ancestors, we have the luxury of building our change management plan upon industry’s best practices, effective leadership tips, proven processes and technology’s most advanced tools. Tools that enable us to facilitate business decisions, accelerate the adoption pace, infuse and reinforce the right messages, improve people’s engagement and ensure that everyone is in the process of accepting and embracing the new norm.

Change is not an anathema. Change is a law of nature. It is what makes us resilient and pushes us above and beyond our comfort zone; enabling us to evolve, develop new (and usually more effective) ways of doing things and innovate. We now know that, for many organisations, Business Transformation begins with Cultural Change. It’s time we also realised that change is not an option, but an inevitable process that requires active involvement and effective management, to support and endorse the organisation’s sustainability and growth. It’s either change or extinction, as our ancestors taught us by example. And what a great example that was.


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