Some notes on change

Articles - General

Change is the law of nature. Under the sun, nothing is permanent except change itself. Change is an inherent characteristic of an individual, organization, society and country.

Change can be an opportunity or a threat. Change does not take place in strictly defined models. People may resist or make change. Marx has pointed out that the job of philosophers is not to interpret but to change the world. However, we should not forget that the quality of change is always determined by how we define and interpret the reality. For this reason, before rushing into change, individuals, organizations and countries are advised to define their reality objectively and then accept it courageously.

We have reached a time to say good-bye to 2019 and welcome a New Year. In 2019, Eritrea played a proactive role in consolidating the hard founded peace, sustaining regional cooperation and materializing the aspiration of the people. The Eritrean people are hopeful, looking optimistically to the future with every passing year of peace.

Human beings have been striving for change while simultaneously resisting it. We have certain things that need to be changed and others that need to be retained. To know what to change and what to preserve is important for success. Many people have a simple or imprecise notion about change and blindly want to introduce change. But change at all levels requires utmost prudence, practicality and responsibility.

When some significant threat or opportunity arises, change becomes inevitable. Change takes place both in response to internal developments and actions that happen in the external environment. When the time is ripe, the signal that tells the need for change appears. Premature change and overdue change are not likely to bring about the desired result. At individual level, change may include alteration and modification of once behavior, style and attitude. At organizational level, it may mean changing the organizational structure, introducing new technology, reshuffling personnel and re-shaping the organizational culture. This means that change demands individuals and organizations to alter their old thinking styles and behavior patterns to establish innovative, progressive and advanced styles and behavior.

We crave for change based on the assumption that it will improve our conditions. However, improvement lays not in the change itself but in the quality and management of change. Any change has to pass through some stages in order to bear beneficial fruit. Before rushing into change individuals and organizations are advised to make intensive preparation and evaluation. They must first recognize the necessity and urgency of change. We crave for change to overcome existential or potential problem. However, before addressing the problem we have to understand and agree on the root cause of the problem. We have to improve the quality of change and reduce the change-induced incidents by critical and scientific handling and management of change. History teaches us that many individuals and societies that show laxity have been wrecked by the winds of changes.

It is important for individuals and organizations to constantly monitor their performance and what is happening around them. This helps them realize the need to change. In this fast moving world, to survive as well as to thrive, we need to develop a means of managing change and then introduce timely, essential and controlled change. It is necessary to consider the causes of change and what actually needs changing.

The national charter of Eritrea states that ‘an organizational structure is not something that is designed once to serve forever. It must change with new developments and changes in conditions.’ Structures are like soil and policy is a seed that grows on it. A good policy can only be productive when promising and fitting environment is in place. The placid and carefully observed changes that have been introduced by the government so far constitute a giant step. The Peoples Front has effectively created a stable political system, societal harmony and functioning economic system. The rich experience of conflict resolution and change management of the leadership gives advantage and confidence to experiment change. The empowerment and adjustment of the Peoples Front to meet the demands of ‘the new era’ of peace would determine the course of events and the fate of the country.

Change emerges as a result of simultaneous domestic and external factors. Multiple political, cultural, social, technological, economic as well as natural forces contribute, with varying degree and speed. Change at national level is a complex and nonlinear process. We have to understand the interaction of domestic actions with those of others. Change is not a matter of proclamation and decision. It is a slow and gradual process and moves through a series of stages. In the first instance, the need for change must be recognized. Above all, it is important to bear in mind that not all changes are necessarily improvements. We shall not be tempted to make changes for change’s sake. What we need is a deliberate change that passes through conscious reasoning.

Change is not a guaranteed and secured journey toward a better life. Change is rather an uncertain process of moving from one challenge to the next. The new era of peace in our region is both an opportunity and a challenge to Eritrea. Eritrea is playing a proactive role in consolidating and expanding the peace. The pace with which Eritrea adjusted herself to the emergent situation attracts appreciation from different directions. The rapid transformation and harmonization have helped the country to adapt to the new changes without disruption. At this critical point in time, Eritrea is fortunate to have a mature and skilled leadership that has accumulated a rich experience of coping with and managing change.

Eritrea is one of the few countries in the region that has effectively maintained a sound social harmony. We must recognize and strengthen the different institutions that have developed over time and protected the harmony and security of the society. The Peoples Front as a political institution guarantees the unity, harmony and security of the country.