Why is change so difficult in western Europe?

I lived in the UK, the USA, in Spain and now I live in Germany. I came to the realization that western Europe is not really into Change Management. It first started when I wanted to study change management not only as a methodology that one must follow but as a living science based on observations, studies, psychology and many other components. I have the impression that change is not understood as a positive energy that fosters creativity and innovation. Change is usually seen as something to avoid when possible or sabotage if on the way.

I worked in companies where simple change would have made a huge difference in the employees life and the company efficiency but they were simply avoided for fear of discomfort. I was even invited to use the word improvement in spite of change to relax the stressed out souls. People usually welcome an improvement and reject a change even if the improvement will mean a change. See the paradox... I now speak of improvements more often than change. Europe is made of old countries not only in their history but also with their aging population. We are very prone to stagnation and love the status quo even if we claim the opposite. We do not think we can change the world because defeatist as we are there is nothing to do. We do not see the doors of opportunity but instead all the risks and dangers that are waiting for us at the corner.

This does not mean that all western Europeans are wishy-washy. On the contrary, I believe that many people are willing to see change happening or even lead the change but blockades are on their way. Here are some reasons that can explain the situation:

  • Younger people lack of skills is seen an incrurable  
  • Older people are seen as unfit
  • Companies are rigid and do not tolerate risks
  • We are still comfortable with the present situation
  • We believe nothing can change 
  • We cannot prepare for a plan B because the world own us the plan A
  • Only one way communication in institutions
  • No cooperation at work

There are several things that need to evolve if we want to lead better companies and better lifes. Our level of consciousness has to change. We must look at those problems from another angle. We could for example:
  • Promote mentorship in companies by pairing experienced employees and newbies. Exchanging advice and ideas. 
  • Promote collaboration between departments so that solutions appear more easily 
  • Promote problem solving at all companies level
  • Promote 2-ways communication which will allow feedback and improvements
  • Promote servant leaders that care about their coworkers and see them beyond their employed work
  • Promote Coaching to help people overcome difficulties they may face during transitions
On thing I have learned over time is that only people who want to change take the steps necessary to improve their situation. Usually the discomfort was so strong that they needed to step away and realized that something was not working in their favor. Change, even when desired is a long and sometimes painful process. It takes realization, consciousness, desire to grow and letting things go while accepting what is. Changing is accepting to take a step in another direction and receiving the help of more experienced people to ease the transfer. Change is looking at oneself in the mirror, accepting our flaws, looking for our strengths to finally realize that our flaws are what make us unique and irreplaceable. There is a magic into change: it shows you who you are and how to become a better version of yourself. 

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