Like our lives, businesses go through seasons. Somewhere along our journey, we grow to believe that things won’t change or desire them not to change. Constant change is all that happens in life. Sometimes change comes in small increments, and sometimes it’s significantly larger and longer.
I’ve recently been through a transition that began in 2009 and is only just now shifting into another phase. While I knew change was coming, I had no idea that it was going to be a full three years. Whether surprised by sudden change or gladly walking into a new phase, how we plan for, manage, experience and react to change are the things that are within our control. Our behavior in those transitions is a measure of our maturity as individuals and leaders.
Change is not an enemy. It is one of the facets of our life experiences. It creates moments of great creativity. It provides opportunities to look at situations differently. Finding out what we’re made of throughout each season of life is part of the constant growth path that we are all on. This is mirrored in our business lives. It’s a fabulous feeling when you realize, as an individual or a team that you were able to pull something off, which you had no idea that you really had the capacity to do. It starts when we’re little ones, and we watch the delight on a child’s face when they take their first steps or connect the bat with the ball the first time. There can be great joy in reaching the next step. That’s change in its simplest form, and the reaction of pure elation is one we can choose over fear or intransigence throughout our lives.
That is not to say that real tragedy does not enter our lives in business or personally. What remains true through those experiences is how we process them, react to them and choose to engage the rest of our lives. We can be defined by tragedy and trauma, or it can be a great teacher. We can engage our teams around finding new paths, or we can mourn forever the past that can never be recaptured.
Change is also a very personal thing. The only person we can change is ourselves. Any counseling course will tell you that when you go into a setting with multiple people who want to change a dynamic, the only thing you can focus on is changing yourself. You can hope others change in relationship to your change, but you cannot make it happen. In our businesses, we can lay out a path for how we want to evolve – and evolution is always better than revolution. We can paint a picture and communicate how things will be better as we travel a new path together. However, we cannot force the people around us to change. That must be their day by day choice.
Transformational change doesn’t happen TO you – you choose it. Your election to walk that path as individuals will help a company arrive at a point where it has transformed completely. The speed with which you get there is slowed in direct proportion to the choices made by each person. The calculation is how long an entity can afford to wait before what must certainly occur for sustainability is at risk.
Choosing transformation is making a life-long decision for you, your people, and your business to walk towards possibility, opportunity, and growth; a road that delivers enrichment.
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