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Change: EMBA participants' perspectives le 22/10/2015


Grégory BLANC

How to be a sustainable company without effective change management? Change is at the heart of the organisation and defines its whole strategy and both internal and external fit with the environment. Change relies on a strong connection between individuals and group within the organization. But above all, it involves an acute understanding of the stakeholder map and a vision of the future.

Change is more than necessary, it is essential and is like a never-ending action that starts with the action learning path and continues forever throughout all levels of an organisation.

Going through the steps of change involves dealing with an uncertain environment, but the results exceed the expectations: being more agile and being more inclined to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.

A sine qua non condition for resilient companies that will be the industry leaders in the coming decades.

Change is an absolute need for me. I am unable to stay in the same place or do the same work my entire life and I am unable to stop seeing and learning new things that make me change and grow. I feel that if I don’t change anything in my life, I haven’t accomplished anything.. so I am really not living.

Even if I can sometimes be a bit worried about change (like everyone at the beginning), I always take change positively and embrace it combatively to make use of it for a better situation for me and my relatives.

Ludovic VALLS
In the September 2015 Harvard Business Review, page 108, there is an all article on “How to Embrace Complex Change” and it adheres to the 7 C’s: Complexity, Clarity, Confidence, Commitment, Consolidation and Change. When the author mentioned the entire change process surrounding this family looking to relocate from London to Singapore, I saw myself and my entire life.

I am in fact living a nomadic lifestyle as every 3 years me and my family relocate to a new country and we all have to cope with the complexity of change: new country, new language, new job, new friends, new life, new culture, new codes….

How do I deal with it? It’s not always easy for one single person. So imagine 5 different people and a dog. Depending on the country it can be a short process or a relatively long process. It depends how fast we settle down, how complicated is it to find a house, to get our residence and work permits, to find a good school for the kids... When all the essentials are resolved it makes our lives much easier.

Not everybody can accept or understand this lifestyle, but I like change. I like to discover new culture, new people. I need change to keep going otherwise I will be afraid to be bored and to do the same routine over and over….”

One thing is constant in this world: change. In essence, the world…nature… are in constant movement. This dynamics is vital to maintaining equilibrium. This necessity applies to all areas, be these social, economic,… However it must start at individual level. We cannot expect to change an environment, to change others if we do not accept to change ourselves first. Individual change is probably one of the most difficult things to achieve since it may imply leaving a comfort zone, putting anchored values into question and very often accepting a failure to go a new and brighter direction. This is a big lesson that we learn through our work experience and that has become obvious and essential during the EMBA.

Alimou CONTE

Q:  Why change?  What happens if we don’t change?

ACO: Change is necessary even mandatory sometimes. Most of people do not like the "unknown".  They do not like getting out of their comfort zone...If we do not change and stick to the same things – in light of evolutions nowadays --we end up without hope.

Q:  Change good? Bad? Necessary? Difficult?

ACO: As per the transition curve of change, change is often seen as being bad, difficult at the beginning. Some fears appear for those impacted by the change process but these fears and anxiety may disappear as soon as the change's lead team is able to give a vision of what the change is about and how they are going to achieve it!

Q:  How is change changing? (speed, globalization, technology)

ACO: Everything is changing very fast. Technology is changing fast and because of globalization, we need to change our mindsets.  The world has reached another dimension in terms of diversity. Our habits, ways of working, the way we perceive the world is evolving  tremendously all the time.

Q:  How are you confronting change? Helpful hints?

ACO: We should always have positive insights about change and see it as being an opportunity instead. This is the way to overcome fear, sadness and depression and allows for the integration of change! Human beings need change to be up to date!

Q:  What is the importance of change in your own life?  In the context of an MBA?

ACO: An MBA is an opportunity to enhance career goals, even if it may be quite risky at the beginning of the selection process. All the risks should be mitigated for the acceptance of this change that helps broaden our knowledge of the business world.

I didn’t think I needed to change…just be better at my job… … I expected to gain knowledge and insight for my future career but I found something better in the Kedge Global MBA.  Interactions with colleagues have truly changed me and, most importantly, challenged all of the ideas I’ve had surrounding my many experiences.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world”, Ghandi

Christophe GERARD
Career:  Increase “open-minded” view, improve, add, to be confronted to other views of the world, to define a new job.
Challenging aspects:  accept, decide what to let go, not persist with false objectives, identify that upon which I can act positively
The time of change is always a question of point of view.  Do we accept taking a step back?  Ask yourself if you are ready to share risks and benefits!

Change is about how to create and initiate a movement.

I spent 23 years in the French navy. These years were incredible because military life is full of changes…every day, every month. It is almost impossible to schedule something “sustainable” because life on board a vessel is simply the opposite of routine. I can say that CHANGE was part of my life. Or I thought it was.

If I was pretentious I could say that I am prepared for any change. However, I decided to challenge myself in leaving the navy to begin a new life. I needed to exit my comfort zone. If I did not face this change, I felt I would probably begin to lose my “fighting spirit”. Not changing is the beginning of a vicious circle within which you think having all of life’s truths.

It is a difficult process because you challenge your life. Many friends of mine asked, “You are a commander in the French navy. Why are you giving up all this?”

I think it is better to see the change from the winning side. Not the losing one. The MBA has helped me through this process.
Today I begin a new position in Canada in a shipping company.

I will face change in November 2015: new culture, new language, new country and not least of all, jumping into business life!
My feelings are twofold.  I am both scared and yet completely excited by this new challenge.
But we only live once. This are my conclusions about change.  If you avoid it, it is time to die!!

When I look back over the last years of my career until the end of 2014, I realize how good it felt: A comfortable position in Switzerland’s ever prospering pharmaceutical industry, integrated into a successful team responsible for the development of an innovative multiple sclerosis treatment, the office only 10min by bike from home, flexible working conditions including teleworking.  A situation many people simply dream of. It could have gone on like this for ever, and, logically I did not see any need for change.

Then the moment arrived. The announcement was made that my position would be impacted by a reorganization. I still remember that it felt like a shock. My inner self simply refused this change. Being separated from the company I had been proud to be part of for 10 years, being separated from my team – from one moment to the other I was expelled from my comfort zone.

But soon I realized that, what in the first place felt like a rupture, was at the same time a great opportunity. Hadn’t I been working in the same routines over past years? Didn’t I lack curiosity about what was going on beyond the limits of the Swiss pharmaceutical industry? Rather, shouldn’t I embrace this special moment of my career and see it as the opportunity to change myself? Re-think my way of acting within the organization?

And in that respect, my MBA program at KEDGE was a real catalyst. Not only have I been learning a lot about business, brands, markets and finance in the various modules, but I am also taking great advantage of being coached individually. Last but not least, I have also met so many inspiring and interesting people from across the whole spectrum of the European economy. Which today I feel is an invaluable asset.
Finally, everything is working out fine. Describing my ongoing MBA program at a recent job interview certainly helped. In the end I was able to take a further step in my career and recently begin a new and challenging position in another company… still inspired every day by what I have acquired since my starting my MBA.

Today I am convinced that stability is good – but change is better!

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