How To Cope With Change?

PM Narendra Modi announced the demonetization of INR 500 and INR 1000 notes and social media is replete with trolls, witty statuses, and funny videos. It has become a national topic that has left no one untouched. From Sonam Gupta memes to beggars refusing 500 notes, demonetization has made news all over the internet.sonam-gupta-bewafa-hai-rupees-2000But many of us failed to notice how some people are still resisting the change while a few are adapting to it well. Long queues outside the ATMs are a common sight. People spend hours in queues to get some cash, while there are a few who are using this change as an opportunity to expand their businesses by adapting to the new situation. vegetable-vendors-using-e-wallet-service

Vegetable vendors use e-wallet services, while others are struggling to make ends meet due to cash crunch.

tea-seller-selling-tea-to-people-standing-in-the-queue-outside-an-atmThis tea seller focuses on selling tea to people standing in the queue outside an ATM to expand his business.

In other situations, we also observe that people use this is as an opportunity to move from paying through cash and use other services to make payments. A few examples include paying through e-wallets, swiping debit/credit cards, net banking, etc. People who have learned to use new ways of banking and processing payments have fared well, while there are others who are still resisting the change and complaining about the situation, reacting to it with anger. Some have genuine reasons behind their resistance (marriage at home, medical emergencies, etc.), but the majority are still yet to adapt to the new status quo. This reminds me of the Cockroach theory given by Google CEO Sundar Pichai:

At a restaurant, a cockroach suddenly flew from somewhere and sat on a lady. She started screaming out of fear. With a panic-stricken face and trembling voice, she started jumping, with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach.

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Her reaction was contagious, as everyone in her group also got panicky. The lady finally managed to push the cockroach away but …it landed on another lady in the group. Now, it was the turn of the other lady in the group to continue the drama. The waiter rushed forward to their rescue. In the relay of throwing, the cockroach next fell upon the waiter.

The waiter stood firm, composed himself and observed the behaviour of the cockroach on his shirt. When he was confident enough, he grabbed it with his fingers and threw it out of the restaurant. Sipping my coffee and watching the amusement, the antenna of my mind picked up a few thoughts and started wondering, was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behaviour? If so, then why was the waiter not disturbed? He handled it near to perfection, without any chaos.

It is not the cockroach, but the inability of the ladies to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach that disturbed the ladies.

The cockroach was nothing but a change that happened and evoked various reactions from the ladies. The demonetization was also a big change to which several people reacted with angst, anxiety, and worry. Leaders see such change as an opportunity and adapt to it instead of reacting to it, just like the waiter.key-punch-activity

We help corporates develop the competence to handle change with one of our signature activities called “Key Punch.” The activity helps participants break the mental patterns and uncover layers of patterned thinking through experiential learning. Contact us to explore activities that can help your team adapt to change with contemporary business strategies. Until then, find ways to deal with your INR 500 and INR 1000 notes! Happy reading.

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