AWiB Events Event Recap Weekend activities Recap RTD Recap on Change and Consequences
14 June 2017 Written by 

RTD Recap on Change and Consequences

Change and Consequences was the title of the round table discussion (RTD) that took place on Saturday 10th June 2017 at AWiB’s Resource Center (ARC). Eight participated in this RTD facilitated by Meti Shewaye Yilma, AWiB’s President Elect.

The discussion was kicked off with introduction and what participants feel about change. The response was mixed. Few think of change as positive, one as negative but most of them have mixed feelings about change.

Change is perceived as positive or negative depending on the situation and circumstances. The terms we associate with change differ based on our experience during change; we call it growth when we enjoy it and hardship when we endure. We label change as negative when the consequences seem insecure, unpredictable, unsafe and unknown. We recognize it as positive when we feel we have more control over the consequences.

Change is inevitably constant in life. We experience change in all aspects of our life; personal, relationships as well as professional. The kind and level of response we’ll have during and after change as well as its consequences depends on our readiness, knowledge, experience and support. The most critical action we need to take during, even before, change is to stop for a moment to asses our life candidly and the possible consequences of what that change could bring to our life. We have to be aware of the need for that particular change, its consequences and how we manage. We have an opportunity to be proactive or reactive to most of the changes that could happen in our life. The more proactive we are to change, the easier it will be to adjust to its consequences.

The participants first discussed changes and consequences in relationships. As relationships are highly emotional, consequences are dire when change takes place. That’s why it’s important to understand different types of relationships; i.e. lifetime, reasonal and seasonal relationships. We can be more proactive in lifetime relationships but we react to changes in reasonal and seasonal relationships as they are mostly unpredictable. After understanding the characteristics of each type of relationships, the participants assessed various relationships in their life. Some actually shared their experiences. Before knowing the nature of their relationship, it was difficult to cop up with the consequence of the change that occurred in their relationships.

One mechanism to be proactive in relationships that matter to us is to asses where we are in it by putting the relationship on scale of 1 to 10, 1 being unpleasant and 10 being wonderful. Once we identify our number, we communicate with the other person, see their number and ask the next question: What do we need to do to bring it higher in the scale and eventually to get it to 10? While this scale is more relevant to lifetime relationships, we have to understand when to let go of reasonal and seasonal relationships as their lifespan is shorter.

When it comes to personal and professional changes, there are different techniques and tools that help us control and manage the consequences. Among the many, only 2 were discussed during this RTD: the “4 Doors Questions” and the “Renovator’s Delight”.

4 Doors Questions are the doors we need to knock when we face personal or professional change:

  1. What are the things I used to be able to do and still can do?
  2. What are the things I couldn’t do before and still can’t do?
  3. What are the things I could do before and can’t do now?
  4. What are the things I couldn’t do before and can do now?

The Renovator’s Delight is the inventory questions we ask during renovation:

  1. What do I need to keep?
  2. What do I need to check?
  3. What do I need to change?
  4. What do I need to add?

The discussions that took place on personal and professional changes were quite interesting. The participants were sharing examples on how they dealt with changes in their life and how they could have done it differently had they had this information before. There were two specific examples that were discussed in detail which helped us understand professional change and consequences.

The first one was Shell Ethiopia. Before exiting from the Ethiopian market, Shell Ethiopia communicated the plan with its employees and had them prepared, designed, implemented and signed a continuation plan with the company buying so the employees would still have their jobs, and even provided psychological support to ease copping up with the consequences. The second example was Ethio Telecom. When Ethio Telecom was restructured few years ago, it brought major change in the lives of most of its employees. The communication channel and style from the management to the rest of over 13,000 employees regarding the change was discussed. Participants were highly engaged in the discussion as both examples demonstrated professional change and consequences. In both cases, it was clear that the response to the change varies among employees. Few took it positively and quickly readjusted themselves with the consequences, while others were devastated to a point of depression even if they still had their jobs.

Towards the end of the RTD, one participant shared an interesting story on change from a book entitled “Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Condition” by John Kotter.

The final topic discussed was death. Although death is the most prominent change in life, it seems to be the least untouched subject among many people even if they are faced with it. How ready are we for our own death and its consequences in our families? How openly do we discuss with our loved ones? How did we deal with the death of people close to us and how did that experience affect us? The participants shared interesting aspects of death and its consequences in families from their personal experiences as well as stories of the people they know. Some of the enlightening and intriguing stories were: how one woman leant to accept death and actually turned proactive after she lost her father at the age of 14, how the thought of death being the worst that can happen to her brought another woman out of a difficult situation, how one woman became at peace with death after she almost lost her child, how one man who is against cemeteries made a detailed plan for what should happen after he dies.

At the end, the participants said that the RTD was very helpful in becoming more vigilant and proactive about change and consequences in their personal, relationship and professional lives.  

AWiB would like to proudly acknowledge its partners for the year.