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Time for a Change

Optimize Blog - May 11, 2011 - 0 comments

In one of our earliest blogs we talked about Samoa and the radical change that they went through in switching the side of the road that their traffic drove on. Overnight they switched sides and it was a fantastic example of managing radical change.
Well they are at it again. No one could possibly accuse the Samoans of not thinking big or letting themselves be swayed from change just because it may present a few challenges.
This time Samoa plans to move itself from one side of the international dateline to the other. It currently sits in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just 32km (20 miles) east of the international dateline.
The Independent State of Samoa, known as Western Samoa until 1997, is made up of nine volcanic islands, two of which – Savai’i and Upolu – make up more than 99% of the land. Samoa is located approximately halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii and has a population of 180,000 people. It was governed by New Zealand until its people voted for independence in 1961.
Samoa has the world’s second-largest Polynesian group, after the Maori.
On Samoa’s side of this imaginary dateline that runs from pole to pole, it is Thursday. On the other side, it is already Friday. And this makes it tricky to communicate with its key neighbours Australia and New Zealand, a day ahead on the other side.
So Samoa plans to reset its clocks and calendars when it shifts the dateline – probably on Thursday 29 December, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said. Samoa will lose a day as it jumps straight from Thursday to Saturday. So much for the TGIF brigade!
Swapping sides of the dateline is not a first for Samoa. It, along with neighbouring American Samoa, lay west of the dateline until 1892, when a US businessman convinced both to switch to the east in an effort to aid trade with the US and Europe.
So the change comes 119 years after Samoa moved in the opposite direction because Australia and New Zealand have increasingly become Samoa’s biggest trading partners. Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said: “In doing business with New Zealand and Australia, we’re losing out on two working days a week. “While it’s Friday here, it’s Saturday in New Zealand and when we’re at church Sunday, they’re already conducting business in Sydney and Brisbane.”
Once again Samoa sets the example for managing radical change and confirming that just because change is difficult, doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t get done.

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