‘The more things change, the more they remain the same’

The more things change the more they remain the same


Have you been witness to the following situation in your workplace?

Team member speaks of things like: “We just do not have what it takes. It will not work out for us. We are more involved with internal politics and lack initiative. We are always behind and late in responding to competition. Our leaders just do not possess the calibre required.  We will only go down and down…….”

Leader responds with thoughts like : “ We have a mediocre set of people working here, they just do have the capability. We keep on training them , we involve them in decision making but they just don’t have any good ideas. We just cannot afford more expensive professionals so need to make do with such mediocrity. We are doing the best we can but our team is not upto the mark………….”

The perception about the problem and what is needed to remedy it is diametrically opposite in the minds of team member and the leader. What remains common for both the sides is the direction in which the organisation is heading, which is only downwards. Opposing perceptions, opposing prescriptions, same outcome!

In the words of Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan in The Three Laws of Performance:

“Everyone experiences a future in front of them, even though few could articulate it. The future lives at the gut level, we know it is what will happen. We call this the default future, and every person has one. And so does every organisation. We live into our default future unaware that by doing so, we are making it come about.

………….the same dynamic exists at the organisational level. Statistical evidence shows that most significant change efforts fail. This is because regardless of the Management interventions tried, the default futures of employees and leaders are still in place. The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

‘The more things change, the more they remain the same’

With the new millennium heralding an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environment, the tenets of Change Management as we know it, might not work.

So what is it that the millennial leader has to do to transform the situation and elevate performance?

 In Learning………………………………

Acknowledgement :  The Three Laws of Performance  by Steve Zaffron  & Dave Logan. Published by Jossey – Bass, CA , US.

Author: Shakti Ghosal

* A PCC Credentialed Executive Coach mentor and trainer for leaders & performance. * A qualified engineer and a PGDM (Faculty Gold medalist) from IIM Bangalore. * Four decades of industry experience spanning Engineering, Maintenance, Projects, Consumer durables, Supply Chains, Aviation and Tourism. * Top level management positions to drive business development, strategy, alliances all around the globe. * A visiting faculty at the IIMs. *A passion to envision trends & disseminate Leadership incubation globally. www.empathinko.in , * www.linkedin.com/in/Shaktighosal. shakti.ghosal@gmail.com . +91 - 9051787576

10 thoughts on “‘The more things change, the more they remain the same’”

    1. Dear Bela,

      Delighted to have you visit and put in your comment.

      ” Living into our default future” is really the way our brains are wired. We are conditioned to create a predictive response to a situation or person based on the past. Our cognitive models are past based…….. and have been so for at least 80,000 years- since the time the cognitive revolution took place for our species.. So such a way of being and acting comes naturally to us.

      The question therefore that needs to be contemplated is , ” What is it we need to do to be able to recognise that default future hurtling towards us and, in case we don’t like what we see, what is that we need to do?”


      Shakti Ghosal

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Excellent question, Shakti. Yet another reason to practice mindfulness in everyday life, if you ask me. We have a live volcano erupting as we speak on this island. Yet it doesn’t require something like this to shake us into the present moment. Life is unpredictable. We sell ourselves short by failing to grasp and examine each moment for what it holds, instead of blindly rushing headlong into a predictable future. Especially in these times, we need original thought and out-of-the-box solutions to solve not only worldly problems but those that visit upon our own doorstep. Aloha, Shakti! 🙏🏽


      2. Dear Bela,

        Indeed mindfulness is a powerful means to anchor ourselves to the present. I suppose as soon as we start gaining proficiency in being mindful, the hold of our gremlins from the past on us diminishes. And that in itself loosens the control of our probability based cognitive models on ourselves, thus allowing us to envision future based possibilities. Would this in itself allow us access to out-of-the box solutions? I remain unsure. But at least the possibility of that happening would exist. With blessings Shakti

        Liked by 1 person

  1. The entire learning process and self-destructive mode will hold back any organization. There should be no room for conflict and what matters to find a common ground through step by step approach that will help overturn the tide. But, sadly many organizations nurture a wrong approach.


    1. Hi Vishal,

      That’s a great comment there.

      As you say, many organisations nurture a wrong approach. My thought is this happens because organisations, like individuals, are conditioned to have a past based, probability approach. The response thus is selected based on what, in the organisation’s view, is the most likely outcome. But in today’s increasingly volatile, uncertain and complex world, past based decisions might not work. What is really needed is a perspective shift from probability based to a possibility based mindset.

      Truly appreciate your visit.


      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Sue,

      Do accept my apology for the delay in responding since I have been travelling.

      Great to see your comment. Indeed, people do resist change as they are conditioned to remain within a familiar scheme of things even though that may not be the best way forward. Alvin Toffler in his book , ” Future Shock” talks of the extreme discomfort and dissonance created in our minds by uncertainty and rapid change.

      And so yes, we do end up repeating old mistakes. The question therefore is , ” What is the best way forward in a fast changing environment?” One of the ways we could handle this is by developing a “Control – Non Control” mindset. We accept the fact that the environment would continue to change and disrupt. But we do not accept the environment impacting the outcome that we seek. Rather than trying to predict what might happen, we focus on creating a future that we desire.

      Sue, thank you for your visit. I truly appreciate.


      Liked by 1 person

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