Masters in Major Programme Management
2017 - 19
It was our last taught session. Our last module where we could be together for the last time from early morning up to the evening, solving business cases and discussing the challenges of the modern business environment. One could read from our faces a mixture of feelings – from the relief heralding more time for our families and more sleep during the nights, to the twist of sadness and nostalgia, which stemmed from the inner feeling that from now on we won’t be seeing each other as often as for the past two years.
After our last session at Saïd Business School, we put on our gowns to feel again like Harry Potter’s fellas and got on the bus which was waiting to take us to the Sheldonian Theatre for the End of Course Ceremony. When you stroll through the streets of the city in a gown, you become a city attraction as well, and tourists hunt you to have you in a picture to show friends what real Oxford is. That’s quite awkward, but it’s a part of the tradition.
The ceremony itself reminded us again how difficult, as well as rewarding, these last years at Oxford were for each of us. We went through a process of improvement as managers, but also as human beings because we were exposed to numerous concepts, ideas, and cultures both in classes and during social events. It was the process we agreed on and consciously decided to sacrifice our time, energy, and money. We decided to take on this intellectual challenge to be more capable and deliver value to our companies. Certain people wonder why we bother, as almost every one of us have already had at least one advanced business degree such as MBA, MSc or PhD combined with significant job experience. For many, it looks like a perfect time for resting on laurels, work, and nurture our self-affectedness. I’ve heard questions with a similar context directed to me, and I’m glad that it’s not our case. We knew and still discover our areas for improvement because life is a continuous learning process. The best time to accelerate is to take the opportunity when the sea is calm because the storm will someday come – that’s certain.
Wait a second, isn’t it just a natural course of both life and business? That’s change. It can be beneficial, although sometimes difficult. It can be insignificant, and it feels like status-quo, but it’s always ongoing whether we want it or not. Time is passing, so the change is happening because, no matter what we believe in, we don’t deal with the constant environment.
Conclusion 1: “The only constant in life is change” – Heraclitus.
I met many managers who seemed not to remember this fact. They appeared to forgot it and happily enjoyed good results of the company like they were fixed. In this context, in companies we may think of reorganisation or transformation – the necessity for the turnaround may be usually inevitable when the need for using the passing time as a catalyst for beneficial change has been too long neglected. We should plan and transform to keep pace with the market or, what’s much better, set new trends for the future. When we don’t use time of prosperity wisely, we can find ourselves struggling in the state of decline within the next years. In the best-case scenario, we may remain strong but internally paralysed by stagnation which, still, leads us towards troubles in the future.
Conclusion 2: “If we do not take change by the hand, it will surely take us by the throat” – Winston Churchill
Change is not always easy. Especially, the change which is controlled and aimed at self-improvement or development of a company. When the change goes as usual in the disguise of status-quo, it’s painless. However, a beneficial change which is meant to bring significant progress is challenging and needs to be addressed appropriately. It takes dedication and persistence to succeed, but that’s the only way to leap.
Conclusion 3: “I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy” – Marie Sklodowska-Curie
The answer is short and obvious – yes, it is. Though, after answering this simple question, don’t forget that willingness and awareness does not equal to proper execution. Actually, these are completely different animals. To succeed, you need much more because organisational transformation, as a phenomenon, is multidisciplinary and complex. There is a space for analysis, planning, structuring, delivering, controlling, appraising, and much more. All of these are viewed differently in numerous concepts of which it is you who should pick the right one, the most suitable for the business case. Hey, and don’t forget – you would also need a different approach to change yourself and the development of your company. I won’t be presenting you with particular solutions now as this is not the purpose of this post. However, preparation for the future through a controlled and well-planned change will certainly bring benefit in the long term to both you and your organisation.Back to top of article