If you graft for a company where methods haven't changed much since before Kimberley had a groot gat, chances are that you've become cosily ensconced in a comfortable rut. You're happy doing, and you're happy with the way you do it.

Then, because business begins to tail off and becomes so quiet you can hear the overheads piling up like curlers on your tannie se kop, someone in the boardroom suggests the services of a "consultant". In the good old days, we called this bloke an "efficiency expert". He was a guy who knew enough to tell you how to do your job but was smart enough not to try and do it himself. He, or she, will snoop around the office, accompany you on sales calls, wander through the plant and generally make a bloody nuisance of himself.

Finally, he'll give your bass a thick dossier in which he intimates that what ails the business can only be cured by change. Drastic change. Only he calls it "corporate re-engineering designed to drastically reshape the structure of the company". He'll suggest that the company heats its executive knives to cut down the corporate butter bill ... that all excess fat be drained from the management frying pan.

The "guru's" presence, prognosis and suggested treatment strikes terror in your heart. You and those around you are pap bang that you'll be among the first in line to join the unemployment queue. And what for? The business is gemors anyway. Nothing anyone can do will save it. So why not leave things as they are and let it die of natural causes in its own time?

Most of us hate change. I think it was the American writer John Steinbeck who said": "It is the nature of man as he grows older to protest against change, probably change for the better."

So what can we do to thwart the march of progress? The first step is to study the nature of the beasts that threaten our existence: re-engineering and change.

In essence, re-engineering means going through the business like a stone through an ostrich to rid it of all operations deemed superfluous and, of course, the people who go with them. Even if you don't get the boot, several of your mates will. The basic idea is to combine several jobs into one. Those in the corridors of power hope this will speed up turn-around time and reduce costs.

Businesses are re-engineered to meet the challenge of change. This implies that you have to change the way you do whatever you do because someone else does it better or cheaper. Or both.

If you accept change, let alone challenge it, you leave yourself open to a lot of problems. You begin to lie awake at night and worry. You might try a dop of "Witblitz" to ease the stress and tension when you can't sleep. It doesn't help you overcome the challenge of change problem, but it definitely makes staying awake and fretting much more pleasant.

It's easy to block those who want to introduce change and keep the business alive. All it takes is dedication. You'll find that those most keen on change are the go-getters - the sickeningly ambitious types. So, when you need to hire staff, be careful who you select. Immediately reject those who view their future in your business through rose-tinted spectacles. This brings to mind an interview I conducted with a potential employee.

"How old are you? I asked the young guy, who had come to me fresh out of college.
"Twenty-three," he replied.
I looked him over. "And what do you expect to be in three years?"
"Twenty-six," he said without twitching a muscle.

Now, if you don't want your business to go anywhere except down, that's the sort of guy to have on your team. Unlike the determined-to-succeed entrepreneurs, the people you need to help you bury the business are apathetic. They do what they are told to do when you tell them to do it. They don't see the stress generated by change as a stimulant. If they show the least signs of rising to the occasion, send them home, give them a tranquilliser and tell them to sleep it off.

Commitment and a passion for such things as excellence and productivity are your mortal enemies in the fight against keeping the business afloat. Do whatever you can to stamp them out. You can douse the flames of these twin evils by constantly painting the bleakest possible picture of the worst case scenario, propagating gloom and doom views about the business's future. Leave your colleagues, employees, suppliers and customers with nothing to look forward to but the worst.

If you hate change, the best way of dealing with it is to ignore it. Pretend it isn't happening. It may go away of its own accord.

If it doesn't, and it probably won't, here are 10 ways to beat it:

 

Change always presents obstacles. Don't confront them head-on. Sidestep them.
 

Discourage your workers and yourself from learning the new skills that change demands.
 

Stick to traditional methods, no matter how slow or inefficient.
 

Become an ardent clock-watcher. Encourage your staff to be the same. Put in the expected amount of time at work doing what you've always done.
 

Don't challenge yourself or anyone else.
 

Never attempt to control events; always let things take their course.
 

Don't commit yourself to anything that smacks of positive action.
 

If you encounter a setback, immediately admit defeat and retreat.
 

Don't be sidetracked from maintaining the status quo by the glitzy potential in new opportunities.
 

Forge about setting goals. Since you'll never achieve them, why bother?
 

  Introduction
     
1. I thought I made it clear
     
2. Let's not rock the boat
     
3. We tried that once before
     
4. Who cares? It's the company time after all
     
5. I'm the boss. Do as I say
     
6. I can't stand change
     
7. We made the cuts, now lets get back to work
     
8. I'll do it as soon as possible
     
9. I prefer to work alone
     
10. Speaking as a Nestlé man
     
11. Get him on the line!
     
12. I've got 20 years experience
     
13. Let's keep it confidential
     
     
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