Week 4.

Lesson 4 was on Drivers of World Change and Change Management and Change Leadership. I feel that the topics discussed were very relevant, as a lot of the key drivers of global change are present in our everyday lives, and in essence, we are THE change that is causing the world today to be different from what it was in the past, and what it will be 20, 30 years from now.

Out of the 14 major drivers of global change as mentioned in Reading 1, I feel that globalization, technology innovation and competition play a large role in our everyday lives. These 3 drivers are closely linked and if I were to illustrate them in a diagrammatical relationship, this is how it will look like:

Globalization is broadly referred to as the increased interconnectedness across national boundaries in social, economic and political arenas. Technology is a vital tool in the spread of globalization, as it enhances communication across countries previously hindered by geographical boundaries, by connecting people all over the world through creating a common ground for communication – The Internet. Competition is an important reason for innovation and development, which leads to change and progress. Essentially, I believe these are the three main drivers of global change and they are intertwined in our daily lives in more ways than we can imagine, in both a good and bad way.

Prof Shahi shared with us many interesting quotes during the lesson, one of which is “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” – George Bernard Shaw. The idea behind the quote is that one should always seek the unknown and be intellectually curious, because if we settle for the status quo, there will never be progress. While some may see “being unreasonable” as defiance, here in this case it refers to people who do not accept the status quo, I feel that some resistance is usually welcomed in society and it is common to find detractors along with the supporters. And most of the time, the brightest ones are non-conformists; they are the ones who lead the change.

Maneeha’s presentation on “CO2 and Climate Change” was really enlightening, as it never occurred to me that the increased concentration of CO2 is not the reason behind global warming. This alternative school of thought is indeed aberrant and it was rather fascinating that there are other possible benefits of raised CO2 levels, such as preventing the supposed ‘Ice Age’ from occurring and that global warming encourages plant growth. A question she posed to the class was pretty thought provoking, ‘Is attempting to stop climate change an expensive act of utter impracticality?’ In my opinion, utter impracticality seems too harsh a term. While it is undeniable that climate change is inevitable, humans have taken a disgraceful stewardship of the environment thus far, hence we should do what we can to control the current situation and try to sustain our current environment for the future generation as best as we can. As mentioned in the previous lesson, about 5 planets’ worth of resources are necessary to sustain our present standards of living. It may be slightly too late to start, but as long as we put a combined effort into managing a sustainable environment for both current and future generations, it may not be too late to change the way things are now and the way it will be in future. As mentioned by Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” We should take stewardship of our own doings, and creating a sustainable environment for our future requires individuals’ collaborative efforts to improve the global situation.

The second part of the lesson was on Change Management and Change Leadership. We discussed about the difference between leadership and management previously in another lesson, the former referring to the initiation of the changes in management processes and the latter referring to the implementation of the changes in management processes. With reference to the 3 options for change,

  1. 1. Make it happen (the proactive approach)
  2. 2. React when it happens (the reactive approach)
  3. 3. Wonder what happened (drawing reference to Singapore’s BLF.. hmm)

both leaders and managers take the first approach, but a leader is more task oriented while a manager is more detailed oriented. While the distinction is not too clear, I feel that a manager can take on a double role of being a leader and managing a team. One also has to be receptive to changes. Like that of a tree, one cannot be too rigid in his mindset, lest the trunk breaks, and one has to be good at adapting to his surroundings. This is applies largely in our daily lives, and in order to have big changes, one always has to start small.

I would rate the lesson 8/10, as the presentations were pretty good and eye-opening. I definitely did learnt a lot from the lesson.

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