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Gestion du Changement, Waste Eating

The past couple of weeks we’ve discussed change within organizations. Since I have « discussed » with at least one robot last week, and seen a lot of headlines about AI (Artificial Intelligence), it is fitting that we talk about technological change today. Those have the potential to make the way we work, connect to customers and sell easier. They also, if not planned and adopted, have the potential to render a few businesses redundant in the medium term.

Last week I had to renew my car insurance. I couldn’t find the closest office to my house because that information is not available on the insurer’s website. I had to go to a brick-and-mortar office to sign several pieces of paper and pay cash. In some countries, the process to renew insurance takes a couple of minutes without leaving one’s house or office.

The way we still work and the way we buy and sell in Cameroon is rather inefficient.

People born the year 2000 are entering university next year. The so-called “Android generation” will be in the workforce in 4 to 5 years. Those new employees have always had the internet. As young people, they communicate with their peers mostly via social media and text apps. They are the are the employees and consumers of tomorrow. But when they arrive in the workforce, some things they have taken for granted may not be available to them. And if you are using Facebook Messenger you can already see all the robots (AI; chatbots) that will take over customer service and other functions tomorrow.

Should we be afraid of them?


Companies are reluctant to embrace new tools and techniques

I’ll just talk about two very simple examples we’ve all seen around us:

Most business cards I receive list a generic email address Gmail or Yahoo address. Employees essentially use their personal email in public and unsecured providers to conduct company business. While the person is employed the data doesn’t belong to the employer. When the employee leaves the company often loses precious information because it wasn’t saved with them to start with.

Medium and even some large companies don’t always give laptop to their employees. Even professional ones that routinely send their staff to work with clients seem to believe that a laptop is a privilege. I have been given laptops to work. The first time I was young and I thought “how cool is that?” Before long I realized it’s a way for the employer to chain myself to my work. They could call me during the weekend to ask for a file, a piece of information, and before long, because they gave you the means to work from home, you ARE working from home most evenings and week-ends! And yet some employers think they are doing a favor to their employees, and not the other way around.

But change will happen and companies should either adapt or prepare to disappear. Cameroonian start-ups already connect doctors and patients to connect online; some insurance companies already sell coverage via mobile.

Why companies don’t want to change?


  • The manager is a guru in his/her domain.
  • They’ve learnt something in school or on the job and have always applied it that way.
  • New technologies are introduced at too fast a pace and it is difficult to keep up
  • Companies don’t understand the new tools and technologies and don’t see how they can benefit from those compared to the old ways of working
  • Companies make money anyway. They don’t think they need to adapt: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

“Successful Companies Don’t Adapt, They Prepare” Greg Satell

So, how do you get to change?

Start with one: Identify the ONE area where you struggle daily or where your employees spend the most time and see how you can improve it. 

Choose something simple: Find a tool that solves that specific problem without bells and whistles. Whatsapp allowed people to send SMS like they were used to. The only thing that changed was it went through the internet instead.

Look for free: Most solutions will allow you a free trial or you can find several that are outright free. Get used to it, see how it works. Get to the paid options when you are comfortable that you will get value for your money.

We mentioned company emails to employees earlier? You can get that for the price of two beers a month.

Which tools have you had difficulties adopting in your company? Comment on the section below.


Book reviews

« Who moved my cheese? » is a story of how different people react to change. The author uses two mice, “Sniff” and “Scurry”, and two people, « Hem » et « Haw » looking for cheese to illustrate his lesson.

The mice and the people both start by lacing up their shoes and searching the maze for cheese. They eventually find it in Cheese Station C.  They sit down and eat to their hearts’ content until the cheese is gone.

Sniff and Scurry don’t think too much about it: No cheese here? No problem. Let’s go back into the maze and look for another cheese station.

On the other side, the people side, things are different. They don’t know how to deal with change!

How people react to change

Hem is outraged and wants to fight the “injustice” of not having cheese. Hem categorically refuses to move from where the cheese was before. Haw is shocked and depressed, but finally resigns to look for cheese elsewhere. It takes a while though to enact that decision because Haw is afraid of going back out there: what if there is no cheese; what if I get lost. But then, after a while, hunger overcomes fear, and Haw laces up and heads back towards the Maze.

What would I do TODAY if I weren’t afraid? #changemanagement #overcomefear

Who moved my cheese is an allegory for Change.


 While the two mice enjoy the cheese they find, they never lose the instinct and the process of finding new cheese. The little people, on the other hand, once they find their cheese, settle and declare themselves successful and happy. They stop honing the skills they had needed to find the Cheese in the first place. When the inevitable change comes along, they are not prepared to deal with it.

We’ve all heard the excuses:

   “We’re entitled”

   “It’s comfortable. It’s what I know”

   « I’m getting too old for that”

   “It’s not what I’m used to”

Technological change especially looks scary

On International Archives Day on June 9th, journalists interviewed a number of professionals about the future of archives. One interviewee said with great authority that physical archives are more reliable than digital archives because they are tangible: they can’t be erased at the push of a button. She didn’t seem to realize that physical archives are: rarely available in more than one copy, that unique copy can be corrupted: water, fire, mold, mice, theft, a physical copy is not readily accessible or retrievable. On the other hand, digital copies can be stored in several places, and protected against unauthorized access.

Does this fear of the ‘new’ come from a sense of fear of the new and too much comfort in the old? Lack of education about the “new”? Whatever the case, holding on to the “old” only makes one inefficient and ineffective in the short-term, and obsolete and redundant in the long term.

Holding on to the “old” makes a person inefficient in the short-term and redundant in the long term #upgradeyourself

Lesson learnt

As Haw eventually realized and wrote down on the wall, “Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to the bigger changes that are to come.”

Which recent workplace change have you been struggling with? Leave your comment in the section below.


Gestion du Changement

Les personnes qui travaillaient déjà en 2000 ont fait face à plusieurs changements assez imprévisibles : passage des mémos et fax aux emails ; des secrétaires à qui ont dictait aux tablettes ; des longs voyages aux téléconférences ; les banques ont presque toutes installé des distributeurs automatiques, ce qui était encore rare il y a 10 ans. Les entreprises ont dû accélérer l’adoption des méthodes de travail comme le Lean, pour rester compétitives. Mais tous ces changements voulus ou imposés par les temps ne se font pas sans douleur.

L’introduction de nouveaux outils et de nouvelles pratiques donnent lieu à toute sorte de réponses venant des employés. Certains sont totalement motivés pour les accepter, et d’autres complètement contre la nouveauté.

Pendant le mois de Juillet, nous allons explorer dans notre blog les aspects de la Gestion du Changement en entreprise.

Vous avez des exemples de projets introduits par votre entreprise? de méthodes et outils qui ont changé depuis que vous travaillez? des réflexions et commentaires sur la gestion du changement ?

Participez à la discussion avec nous sur TwitterLinkedIn, ou Facebook. #Upgradeforchange