Today is Halloween, the one day a year when children are able to set aside their fears of things that go bump in the night and embrace them. Those witches and little monsters that reside in closets and under beds become fodder for this year’s costumes as children bravely embody those things that, on any other day, would be too frightening to confront.
As adults, we, too, have fears, but they’re typically not little monsters. When I think about what adults fear the most, it comes down to two things: death and change.
As I prepared my comments for our most recent partner meeting, I came across a speech by former Managing Partner Ed Parks from 20 years ago. The topic was “embracing change.” He noted that “I don’t think the importance of embracing change is really in the depths of my understanding—there’s a difference between knowing something and understanding it.” He went on to say that because he had that fear about himself, he had that fear for all of the then-partners and discussed some of the ways in which change was necessary.
It’s funny how that same fear haunts us today. Yes, Plante Moran is successful, but in some ways, that success is cause for concern its own right. It’s easy to become complacent, to rely on one another for our continued success. Jack Welch said it best: “Change has no constituency. People like the status quo. We like the way it was. When you start changing things, the good old days look better and better.” The key, then—and Ed recognized and practiced this—is to keep this idea of embracing change top of mind 365 days a year. To plan for it versus having to react to it. To confront it more than just once a year.
What about you? Do you think change is feared by most people? What do you do at your organization to truly embrace it?