“We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden.“
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Much of what I coach individual leaders and teams around boils down to how to manage change: positions starting or ending, organizational structures shifting, funding streams beginning or ending.
I also write a lot about change on this blog – like here, here, and here – and if I had to sum up what I believe about change into two truths, they’d be:
1) The job of a leader is to consistently go into the unknown.
2) If it feels weird/awkward/uncomfortable, you’re probably on the right track.
Leading change (whether personal or organizational) means forging a new path: if the way was clear, someone else would have already cleared it.
Leading change is hard and awkward – that’s why lots of people don’t bother. It requires developing new skill sets, challenging the status quo (our own as well as others’) and moving into unfamiliar territory.
Somehow we seem to have gotten our story about change backward: at
least in Western society, we believe that life or work is supposed to be static, punctuated by brief times of change and upheaval.
In actuality, most of life is about constant flux and change, interspersed with a brief oasis of calm here and there, where we can catch our breath momentarily before journeying onward again.
In the comments below, I want to hear from you. What’s your #1 belief about personal or organizational change? When you’ve taken the unknown path personally or professionally, what’s changed?
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Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2012 and has been updated for content and relevancy.
Photo credit: Pixabay