My Pispective on Changing the Umwelt

Leadership Change Management Umwelt

(A pispective is where you write about something in 314 words)

Change management. A term I never connected with. How does one 'manage' change? I can manage my place in change, like a swimmer in a river. But I don't manage the river.

Umwelt. A term I've reconnected with. 'Umwelt' means environment or surroundings. Thomas Sebeock described it as the "biological foundations that lie at the very epicenter of the study of both communication and signification in the human animal". Sometimes it's translated as 'self-centered world'.

Knowledge professionals can inhabit several umwelten. Though my sense is that we tend towards fewer. This is because an umwelt makes sense. It's organic, holistic, complete. There will be parts that don't make sense, but its ok because the umwelt will function just as well if we don't look.

If we work in a particular team in a particular department in a particular organization we might inhabit up to three umwelten. But if we go outside the organization then we might find ourselves in another world. A world that makes no sense because it is foreign. It is foreign because it is outside my umwelt.

So it makes sense for me to scurry back. Or to find a similar organization in the same umwelt. Or even better, just don't leave in the first place.

There are some people who seek to expand their personal umwelten. Like languages, they want to find other ways of perceiving the world and expressing themselves. These people can move between umwelten with comfort and ease.

However if a person questions an umwelt too much, they become dangerous. They threaten the way things are. The world functions perfectly well within an umwelt: that's the whole point.

We don't manage change. We manage the connections between umwelten. We make it safe for people to explore. We accept that change can mean destruction for an umwelt. And why destroy what works? This is why we resist 'change'.

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