Overcoming the Problems of Accelerating Change
Fundamental reports relevant to today's problems and to a better future
Directing is something all of us do throughout our lives. We all make decisions which affect ourselves and our family, which affect the people with whom we come in contact, the community in which we live, the enterprise which employs us. They are often extremely important decisions. What kind of an education, what kind of school, what kind of trade or profession, whom to marry, choosing between alternative medical treatments such as drugs or surgery, whether to change one's job, indeed the country in which we wish to live and the kind of government we prefer, all these are decisions which we make and which have to be made again and again as we direct the course of our lives within the choices open to us.
Underlying is an understanding of what is going on, of what is happening, of the problems of the day. So we begin by having a look at the sort of things which are taking place all around us.
The World in Which We Live
There is inflation accompanied by confrontation between those who work and those who manage. While people are safeguarded against extreme poverty and hardship by extensive social security legislation and by the national health service, there is much unemployment, frustration and unrest.
Some established norms have been questioned. People's behaviour is being affected and there has been an increase in permissiveness (promiscuity), delinquency and crime, there is the younger age of those involved. There are social problems of one-parent families, there is increasing loneliness. There is increasing vandalism and callousness towards other people. There is use of violence (terrorism) against people for political ends.
The market now spans the entire planet, competition is tough and international. It used to be that costs and overheads were estimated and a customary percentage added for profit. This gave one the price at which the article was sold. Now we tend to assess what quantities can be sold at each of a number of different prices. The price tends to be what the market will bear and one has to produce and sell accordingly. Under such conditions the price is the maximum one can persuade people to pay for what one can persuade them to buy. The way in which oil prices were pushed up by the oil producing and exporting countries is a case in point. This is 'marketing'.
A few years have seen far-reaching changes take place in the wealth of countries and individuals, a vast transfer of wealth towards largely Arab oil producing countries, with other countries struggling to maintain their standard of living. In addition there is an enormous and speedily increasing gap in living standards between the underdeveloped world and developed countries. A very high proportion of those living on the planet are permanently hungry, undernourished, starving, illiterate, deprived.
Much is happening. These are after all only some developments and trends and there is much else. But there is one word which sums up what is taking place in all the many different areas. That word is 'change'.
We now live in a time of change; we live in a time of accelerating change. Yet pick up almost any textbook on management written some years ago and somewhere in it you are likely to find the phrase that people do not like change, that people will resist change. Yet we live in a time of accelerating change and have to live with it, indeed have to overcome the resulting problems.
People do not resist change for the better, which benefits them. They are likely to resist change imposed from above which does not benefit them and which may make work and life more difficult and less rewarding.
Adapting to Change
To survive in a time of change, one must adapt to change. One adapts by assessing the situation and then acting accordingly. We see what is changing and how it is changing, estimate what is likely to happen and then act first. We forecast change and plan accordingly.
Planning includes evaluating alternative strategies to find the best strategy. It is this best strategy which then becomes part of our forward plan.
Where attempts are made to introduce a system of procedures and reports to take the place of delegated responsibility and work, and of responsible person-to-person management, where attempts are made to impose a system of tougher government or management direction and control, then costs are high and benefits uncertain and even unlikely.
Success depends to a large extent on commitment of citizens and employees towards the country's or organisation's aims, and on cooperation between them. This means identifying with the government or company. What benefits the country or company needs to be seen and felt by citizens and employees as also benefiting them.
Manfred Davidmann is an internationally well-known and respected scientist and author of a number of books and reports which have had and are having considerable impact. His work usually breaks new ground and opens up new understanding and is written in meaningful and easily understood language. Outstanding is that his work is generally accepted as factual, objective and unbiased.
The Site Overview page has links to all individual Subject Index Pages which between them list the works by Manfred Davidmann which are available on the Internet, with short descriptions and links for downloading.
To see the Site Overview page, click Overview