The world is ever-changing and the corporate world, as I was reminded this week, can be especially harsh and volatile. The chameleon called change is unavoidably everywhere.
It has the literal perpetuity of a merry-go-round. Each time you get on, you find yourself a horse. You might choose it because you like the colors or the fact that it bears its teeth. Maybe its seat looks newer than the other horsies.
Anyway, you choose your horse and away we go. The music starts and we move up, down, up and down, the lights are flashing. People get on and people get off. You get along with the people riding the other horses. You look out at surroundings occasionally and while the faces sometimes change, and the sun rises and falls, the landscape is relatively same-same. But there is a definitive order to how these things go.
First, something happens. Let's call it a holocaust. Okay, perhaps a little too dramatic and inconsiderate of those who have actually experienced a holocaust. Sorry. Let's expand on the initial metaphor and say that the carnival comes to town.
So, the carnival comes to town. Your merry-go-round has always been profitable, popular and mechanically sound. The carnival doesn't see it that way. Suddenly, your trusty ride doesn't seem to "fit" alongside the newer, more death-defying amusements. It needs to change. The horses must move faster, to a different song and in the opposite direction. All around you, people are falling off their horse. Maybe you dig your heels in and hang on tighter.
Maybe it is time to get off the ride.
This is just a small taste of the tumultuous adventure we call acquisition-based change. Amongst the amusements there is change for the sake of improvement, change for the sake of alignment and sometimes change just for change's sake. There is the "it's not your fault, we just do things better around here", type of change. And the "we don't really care how you do it, or whether it's better or worse, we just want to do it our way now", kind. Both can be equally hard to digest.
Objectivity is kind friend to have. Especially, when you feel like you are trapped in a padded and sound-proofed room, screaming at deaf onlookers who are nodding and smiling facetiously at your expense.
Enveloped by acronyms, company jargon and other miscellaneous word vomit (little pieces of words that come out looking and sounding like small chunks of their original selves), we wade together through a thick swamp of meaningless ambiguity in a quest to save any morsel of our previous purpose.
At different times in our lives we all find ourselves in a nook. A cosy, happy corner of life that is easy and comfortable. When you find yourself in the nook, you are unlikely to leave voluntarily. It is welcoming and warm. Until someone comes along and tears you out, completely against your will. You shiver. There is no going back, the air is cold, sharp and ferocious.
Perhaps life thought you got a bit too comfortable. Or perhaps you are experiencing an ambitious agenda of M&A*. Either way, stand up and brush yourself off. One way or another, we will all end up back on the horse.
*Mergers & Acquisitions