Fall 1986 // Volume 24 // Number 3 // Tools of the Trade // 3TOT1

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Mastering Change


Jeanne Moore
Assistant State Leader, Home Economics
Iowa State University-Ames

Mastering Change: The Keys to Business Success. Leon Martel. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986. 308 pp. $18.95 hardcover. (Available from publisher at 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.)

Change is occurring at an ever-quickening pace. Our response is often to ignore, avoid, or resist it. Mastering Change offers practical ways to deal with change. Martel is a political scientist who specializes in forecasting economic, political, social, and resource issues. He points out that we can best prepare for the future by understanding change itself rather than current trends.

Martel divides change into structural change and cyclical change. Structural changes are permanent changes that typically occur in information, the population, income, attitudes, and work. Cyclical changes are temporary, recurring changes such as those that occur in business cycles or demandsupply cycles.

Many of the generalizations about change broadly apply to society, so are useful to Extension educators as we consider what our goal is and should be as an organization, and how our clientele are changing.

Martel shows that changes aren't random, but consist of recognizable patterns. He presents a strategy for mastering change:

  1. Recognize that change is occurring.
  2. Identify the changes likely to affect one's par ticular business, profession, or personal plans.
  3. Determine the type and probable pattern of each identified change.
  4. Rank the changes by the importance of their effect and the likelihood of their occurrence.
  5. Make use of the changes.

Mastering Change challenges me as a reader to apply this strategy to the Extension organization as it faces structural changes due to decreasing resources. Although the book focuses on business, it has relevance to Extension.