Lab Manager Academy: Why Do They Keep Changing Everything?

By Dave Jakielo

Change has always been an issue for every generation and it often makes people feel extremely uncomfortable. I find that people don’t mind change if it was their idea, but when faced with a change someone else has made, it can cause a major disruption in their lives.

While every generation faces change, the pace of change has definitely picked up in the past few decades. Most of us have experienced more change in the past five years than our grandparents dealt with in their lifetime.

What are some of the factors leading to such a rapid pace of change? One of the biggest changes is that, in an instant, we can communicate with anyone, anywhere, at any time. Everything has gone global and we are no longer just citizens of America, India, China, etc. We are now citizens of planet earth. Boundaries are being erased as internet connectivity expands.

Another factor contributing to the accelerated rate of change is that information is more readily available and learning has become more informal. A few years ago, most of us had only two sources for gaining knowledge: the formal classroom and the library. Today information on almost every topic can be found via a quick Google search. So much for my ambition to sell encyclopedias door to door.

It was only 20 short years ago that I found myself amazed at the ingenuity of my portable Sony walkman. Who would have thought that the recent creation of Twitter could bring down a dictator? An employee of Apple recently stated: “Fifty percent of the technology we will be using in 10 years hasn’t even been invented yet.”

People’s reaction to change is predictable. It is known as the 30-50-20 Rule. Thirty percent of people will embrace a change and go with the flow. Fifty percent of the people will sit on the fence and take their time deciding whether or not the change is good, and 20 percent of people will hate the idea no matter what.

The 20 percent are folks who will fight any and all change—no matter what. These are folks who, if they worked at a help desk, would answer the phone, “Hello help desk. The answer is ‘No.’ Now what is your question?”

So to successfully implement change in your lab, don’t worry about the 30 percent of your team members who are on board. And know that you will never convince the 20 percent who are the naysayers, so don’t waste your energy. Rather, concentrate on the 50 percent who are on the fence and be open about the change and make sure you explain the rationale.

Once folks understand the logic as to why a change is being made, they usually embrace it.

LABCAST: If you missed Dave Jakielo’s Lab Manager Academy webinar “Why Do They Keep Changing Everything? Thriving From Change in the Lab of Today,” originally broadcast on Wednesday, July 13, visit to watch the archived video.

Dave Jakielo is an international speaker, consultant, executive coach, and author, and president of Seminars & Consulting. Sign up for his FREE weekly Success Tips at Dave can be reached via email or by phone 412-921-0976.

Published In

Go, Go Gadgets Magazine Issue Cover
Go, Go Gadgets

Published: July 5, 2011

Cover Story

Go, Go Gadgets

Continuous advances in mobile technology have been changing the way the modern world works. Make last-minute changes to a presentation on your way to a meeting, send reports back to the office while you’re at a conference or trade show, or even input data from an experiment into the LIMS directly at the bench.