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Change is the Law of Life - How we can better adapt to the unknown

#change#leadership#vision

I was just thinking the other day how it's so cliched, and yet, change is the only constant in life and work.


Yet we have all these loft titles of 'change management' and problems like 'resistance to change'.


Human nature isn't fond of change - or at least changes in ways that are immediate to us.


Yet when it comes upon us like a dark cloud or a fire, creating both foreboding and sense of urgency, we are forced to react to it and scramble, adapting in the moment to something that often, could have been handled beforehand in a more calm manner (albeit begrudgingly).


So if we flip this line of thinking, we may find that the more adaptable we are in-the-moment, and the more willing we are to accept tedium by planning, planning and planning some more, the more we become resilient and stabilized in our journeys.


Sure, you might say, it makes sense to plan ahead and to keep a cool head in tough times, but how can you do that?


  1. Don't reinvent the wheel until you have to - If you're facing a problem today, more likely than not someone has gone through something similar before. Be willing to read tough business cases and hear life stories of people in your life and in business. Even Steve Jobs got fired once, and look at the comeback he had! Others too have long and storied histories - companies like IBM reinventing themselves over time, successfully too. Like the article says, relying on strong values and sound methods, we can find inspiration in other's journeys to find those new opportunities and weather the winds of change.

  2. Being smart or brilliant is no guarantee of avoiding conflict or difficulty - People and clients I know are often top of their field - excellent entrepreneurs, subject matter experts and leaders of all fields. Yet they find themselves amidst the same hot tempers, misunderstandings and misalignments as the more median performer. Why is that so? Intelligence can often work against us, as it reduces our tolerance to 'hear out' ideas that are (we think) headed in the wrong direction. And so we focus so much on being right that we stop listening, for instance. People skills are about more than 'finding the answer', it has to be about 'solving problems together'.

  3. Focus on the present - Like the quote says, some people live in the past. Trying to recapture old glory or the old way of doing things. And others are living in dreams of the future that are amorphous, not necessarily grounded in reality and cettainly not in the present moment. The present moment has to be contended with, in all it's uncertainty, un-framed form and unclear path forward. What works for me is analyzing the uncertain or unclear situation using the right toolkit - sometimes we're looking at problem-solution, cause-effect. Other times we're thinking not about solving a problem, which might be clear, but a difficult conversation, which is sharing hard truths with someone else. Either way, it is the now that needs our attention and all our focused efforts.


So, does working on our adaptability towards change come easily, or all at once? Sadly, no.


However, opening yourself up to uncertainty a little bit at a time - like how we dip a toe in the water before wading into the pool - is an excellent way of getting yourself to acclimatize to the new 'temperature' of the situation, figuring out what you'll need to stay afloat, and complete the journey. One step at a time.


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