I once heard someone say that “the moment we fail to change, we begin to die.” That always stuck with me. It’s been said that change is inevitable. I believe this to be true. I also believe that change can be healthy for an organization….if the changes are implemented properly and respectfully.
This week, two of the world’s most popular online companies – Facebook and Netflix- made some big changes. And, like many organizations that have done similar things, a lot of their customers are voicing their displeasure. See, people get used to the way things are and get comfortable.
So, when Netflix announced that they were splitting their streaming video and DVD mail delivery units, consumers who were used to having everything in one place started to complain. Of course, the fact that Netflix also raised prices for its services has also struck a nerve.
And when Facebook changed the cosmetics of its member pages (adding a news feed and making a few other “enhancements,”) folks took to their “dislike” buttons very quickly. Again, people were used to things being a certain way and change is not something that comes easy to many people.
But an interesting thing usually happens in these instances. A lot of people complain at first, vent out their frustrations through blogs, tweets, and phone calls. But eventually the waves calm down and people get on with their lives. And they even get used to what was changed. And they realize (sometimes begrudgingly) that the changes aren’t all that bad.
There are some folks in credit unions that don’t want things to change. The status quo is just fine with them. The problem with that is that the world is changing. The way we get and share information is evolving on a daily basis.
Change is good. Change is necessary to sustain life itself. Credit unions shouldn’t be afraid to change as long as the changes are made for the benefit of the members they serve. Credit unions don’t have to lose their identities through these changes. In fact, the livelihood of credit unions will depend largely on their willingness and ability to improvise, overcome, and adapt to the ever-evolving marketplace. After the initial shock that comes with change wears off, people are amazingly accepting of innovation and new ways of seeing and doing things.
And one other change happened this week – a bittersweet change for me personally. R.E.M. broke up as a band after 31 years. For me, R.E.M. defined what was good about music during my very formative teenage years and continued to do so well beyond my time in high school. So when I heard the news that they were breaking up, I was disappointed at first. But then I read the statements from the members of the band and realized that this was a necessary change for all of them. The decision was made after a great deal of discussion and reflection. They realized that their time making music together was at an end. So they made this change. It was dignified and respectful. They did it right.