ON CHANGE AND INTELLIGENCE
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change” – Albert Einstein
Too many people talk too much about change and innovation but, honestly, I have not seen much change happened or happening around us – what more creativity or innovation. It’s just not the norm, if you may. And I really do not feel too comfortable when someone uses cliché terms such as transformation or leapfrog or frontier etc ad nauseum. I even sometimes feel that those who use these words too often are themselves the exact opposite of what they preach. I therefore learnt and prefer to use the word improvement rather.
Change and improvement would be more likely to happen among objective individuals working in positive environments. Positive changes cannot occur if we keep being too negative a character or overly sceptical to the sound of any new ideas, rubbishing anything coming from others, particularly from those who are more junior or less experienced than us or happen to not be in our good books. It’s our stubbornness that is actually keeping us from learning and thinking.
Being objective means acting impartially and not influenced by personal feelings or interests. Objective people are often good listeners who make every effort to process incoming or inbound information, ideas and opinions objectively instead of busy finding ways of how to either spicily or tactfully say no to everything. They allow their external sensors to dance freestyle with their internal senses while quashing uncalled-for judgments.
Negative people are not born negative. Many kicked off their career ambitiously, ready to change the world, only to be reminded over and again that they should know their place, follow the flow, and not trying to be smarty-pants. Over the years the system systematically and structurally kills any hope of promoting the culture of creativity and innovation needed by the society. These changed individuals – from positive to negative – in turn would become the bosses and what follows is history repeating itself. This loop goes on and on until and only if we are lucky enough to find selected few who are brave enough to be and don’t mind being the ‘bad apples’ in the eyes of the society, who continue to push and challenge us to loathe and leave these comfort zones.
We are what we are because our forefathers did their part and changed their world. Now it is our turn to continue their legacy and keep improving the world we live in for the benefit of our posterity.
Embracing change and improvement should be fun. It keeps us thinking and going every step of the way. Or just change for the sake of change, for a change, for at least we would not take improvement as another ghost story. And do not expect that everything needs to be expected and precisely planned way ahead. We ought to reward ourselves with some room for improvement.
At times I tend to blame our submissive dependency and misapprehension of the textbook we read in Strategic Management 101 that we fail to consider of the many different school of thoughts in strategy – in this context – the competing and/or complementing – planning school versus learning school. Though in practice we spend almost half a year every year with planning and KPI etc, but in reality innovation and our long-term survival, time and again, is the result of our commitment to emergent and incremental learning working hand-in-hand with the tinkering that happens inside our brain.
Prof Dr Zaher Zain
Deputy Vice Chancellor
KPJ Healthcare University College