Sometimes it happens quickly or it is a long time in coming.
But once change occurs it represents a different course than what was originally planned.
For us as a community, the advent of a microscopic pathogen has changed many lives - some permanently.
When change occurs it is crucial we understand it, move quickly to make plans to deal with it and whatever it throws our way.
For many situations currently, the change is so material in its scope that the change required is wholesale and beyond what was contemplated in planning or strategy.
For me, there has been more change in the last six months than the last six years!
I guess the catchcry of these current times is that certainty is only relative to your present situation.
Professionally, I am now operating in my own business again after almost five years with Balance Chartered Accountants – starting out in April in the midst of a level 4 lockdown was certainly not what was planned!
I'm grateful of the opportunity to continue working with Balance going forward and also have certainty in changing times by continuing to be located at their office on Bell St.
Why livestock market's future is hard to predict
The challenges presented by change are numerous and each of us will face them down in different ways - which is why we need to be sensitive to others and their situations.
Before lockdown many of us thought we were"essential" workers – in fact all of us are essential in our own way because we are supporting ourselves and our families through our work.
However, lockdown created a distinction and, if you weren't "essential" or were unable to work from home you were faced with momentous change.
As such, I quickly grew weary of Facebook posts and memes saying all we had to do was "Netflix and chill" to see ourselves through this crisis.
Notwithstanding 90 per cent of the content on Netflix is poor, I can guarantee that for many the stress of the weeks in levels 3 and 4 was exponentially more significant than it was for others.
It then becomes a challenge of what you do with the energy which is created by having to deal with momentous change.
Over the weekend I read articles about several businesses that saw their income streams decimated by lockdown – and how they pivoted into variations of their business (or diversified completely) to carry on.
There were two common denominators. Firstly, after dealing with the pain they actively looked for a positive angle to pursue and secondly, they made their business model malleable and changed it.
Now, in a number of cases that is not quite possible.
However, what this period of change has shown is that there is value in planning for future shocks – or business continuity planning.
It is really annoying to hear the words "these unprecedented times" because (believe it or not) pandemics are not unprecedented.
In fact, if you look at the Spanish flu pandemic, the development path of that and Covid-19 are very similar and, unfortunately, the inability of economic and political structures to respond effectively is no different now to 100 years ago.
More concerning is the trope of certain groups not following social distancing advice and the long tail of the pandemic (I'm talking years rather than weeks or months).
The other term which I am trying to avoid is "new normal".
This just invites the casting aside of many crucial aspects of human interaction and commerce when what we should be doing is acknowledging change, recovering socially and economically, and preparing ourselves better for the next time major change occurs.
And it will.
• If you want to better manage change in your business call Russell Bell of Zenith Solutions on 021 244 2421 or email firstname.lastname@example.org