Key Point: Ok, maybe we should end the abusive use of the “C-word,” and that word is “change.” Honestly, I’m worn out with phrases like “change management,” “change resistance,” “change failure,” etc. Let’s all agree that change can be hard. When we have to do things differently, it makes sense that it’s challenging. Most things worth doing involve overcoming hurdles. Ever run a marathon? Few people before running their first one believe it’s going to be a cakewalk. Yet, if you are dedicated and train, I believe anyone can run the 26.2 miles. It’s only a matter of time. I’ve ran two marathons and always wanted to beat my three hour target. I came close. Were my marathons “successful,” even if I didn’t complete one in less than three hours? Heck ya, as far as I’m concerned. This way of thinking may also apply to organization and personal transformation.
I really liked Nick Tasler’s HBR blog entitled “Stop Using the Excuse ‘Organizational Change is Hard.’” Here is how he concludes, and I whole-heartedly agree: “We have been learning new skills and adapting to new environments literally since the day we squirmed out of the womb. Every time we feel the impulse to say ‘change is hard,’ we could make a different claim that is every bit as accurate: Adaptation is the rule of human existence, not the exception.”
I have been leading big system adaptation and transformation throughout my career. With the risk of sounding over confident, I genuinely believe I can lead (developing a great team around me at the same time), a giant positive transformation in any environment. Depending on the size of the system it will start immediately and three to five years later it will be measurably better. There are common ingredients and my readers may be familiar with the eight-ingredient system for cultural transformation I’ve written about previously. Here are some minimum conditions that are necessary if you want to join me for the rocket ride:
- Be prepared to think and be big.
- The purpose or “why” has to really matter and be clear.
- Love and breathe adaptation like oxygen.
- Have the ability to change perspective.
- Challenge assumptions and be curious as hell.
- Get s#!& done. I detest procrastination.
- Love a relentless pace and get energized by it. Be smart enough to know when to rest.
- No excuses. You’re fiercely accountable.
- Set targets people think are too high.
- When people tell you you’re working on too many things at one time, ask them to get the hell out of the way.
- Be compassionate, and accept not everyone wants to go for the ride.
- Accept critics, skeptics and quickly remove cynics.
- Celebrate milestones and understand that your full work and contribution may not be fully appreciated (that’s part of successful adaption).
- Do not accept binary success criteria. Transformation is always on a continuum.
- Embrace the uniqueness and personality of the adaptation process; each is deliciously unique.
- Enjoy the highs and embrace the lows; grit your teeth, stay calm, relentlessly move forward.
- Breathe, pause, and never stop!
- Avoid leaders like me if this list is exhausting.
- Kill the “C-word.”
- Adapt, transform, move; make it who you are and recognize it’s a practice, NOT an event!
Adapting as humans in The Triangle,
One Millennial View: I really like this. Sure, “change” is tough, but us Millennials deal with it on such a regular basis that it should be second nature to us in a lot of ways. For example, every social media outlet has changed dramatically since we’ve started using them, and if you pulled up Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or Twitter’s interface from a few years ago, they would seem outdated. If you’re not adapting as often as an Apple OS update, then you could probably use a reboot.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis