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Library: Building your Ark: Managing unplanned change


by Monique Beedles

Antediluvian is one of my favourite words.

It has a quirky ring to it and it's unusual enough that if you drop it into a sentence you can really surprise people.

It's literal meaning is before the flood. Traditionally, this refers to the Biblical flood of Noah, and the term is generally used to describe thoughts, ideas or policies that are so ancient or archaic that they could have come off the Ark.

In Brisbane, where I live, and in many places around Australia and around the world at the moment, our concept of something that was 'before the flood' is no longer ancient or archaic - it's just last week. It's fresh, it's raw, it's still wet. But in many ways the implications of the word antediluvian are still the same - it really means, before everything changed.

Those plans we made for the New Year, those things we were going to do before January got away from us, those visions for what 2011 would be - they are barely a fortnight old - but somehow they seem like ancient history.

A lot of my work involves helping people to plan for the future. One of the biggest challenges is the 'what if?' Indeed many people abandon the idea of planning altogether because there are too many things that could go wrong, too many things that could change.

Unplanned changes are a normal part of life. Some are minor and some are more significant, but change of some kind is inevitable. It is not what happens in our lives, but how we deal with those things that determines our outcomes. Accepting that not everything is within our control is a useful, but difficult, first step.

Many of us may be tempted to throw our well made plans out the window in the face of unforeseen change. My advice is to be flexible and make changes where you need to, but don't abandon your core desires and values. Don't abandon your reasons for being. Hold onto these, and build your Ark around them.

monique Beedles
With a PhD in Corporate Strategy and experience with some of Australia's leading organisations, Monique Beedles brings both the knowledge and the practical business skills needed to strengthen your competitive advantage. As a recognised expert in Strategy and Business Design for corporate clients, small business, government and not-for-profit organisations, Monique is a frequent speaker at conferences, workshops and industry events. Find out more about Monique at

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