Have you ever woken up and felt like you were in a bad dream? Everyone around you is complaining and blaming you for everything that is going wrong. People you thought were your friends seem distant and critical. You feel like everyone is the enemy and behind every tree and office plant, there is a great conspiracy. You feel alone and unhappy. Worst of all you dread getting out of bed and going to work because you already know how the day is going to turn out…miserable. The good news is that you’re not having a bad dream! The bad news is that you may have missed the pulse of change.
Change is a constant in our lives. From the day we are born we undertake a magnificent journey of evolution adapting to our surroundings as we learn and grow. Change is the story of our lives and of human history. It has brought us great joy and great tragedy depending on how people have responded to it. We can be sure that even when things are going great, change is bound to happen as technology evolves and we interact with people. In fact, when you feel things are changing, you have four options:
The very fact that we cannot control our social and natural environments, both wild cards in our lives, indicate that change while predictable and manageable is not controllable. You can always expect the unexpected in very unpredictable ways. Ignoring it, only puts off the inevitable and prevents us from preparing for it, and fighting it only depletes our energies to focus on what really matters…OUR OWN SUCCESS!
The most effective approach to change is engaging it straight on with passion and a positive attitude.
The best way to engage change is to keep two metaphorical fingers on the pulse of change. We as humans have a great capacity to adapt, evolve and innovate but to do so we have to have a little bit of vision, a measure of risks, and a pinch of conflict, all indicators that change is afoot. Unfortunately, we are taught from a very young age to resist our urges to be creative, instinctive, and experimental. We are also taught that conflict is a very bad thing. However, it is the competitive nature of conflict that is the engine of change and it is a conflict that signals that we are going too fast or that we have forgotten something along the way.
Part of successfully engaging change is to resolve our internal and external conflicts. We can have all the physical evidence necessary to indicate that a change in needed if our team is conflicted or divided, change is all that much harder. Make no mistake that in every change process, there are people and organizations who profit from our inaction or chaos and who seek to keep us from changing so they can continue profiting from the insecurity created by our situation.
Luckily we all have in us an internal and human mechanism that helps us to recognize both the potential for change and spoilers out to prevent us from changing. When we see conflict our natural instincts encourage us to collect and organize data, analyze it, and propose solutions. However, we do not know what to do when our head is telling us one thing and our instinct is telling us something else. What do we do when everything is pointing in a particular direction, but every time we look that way, we get a foreboding feeling? This feeling is the pulse of change telling us that something needs be resolved. Our job is to read those signs both in ourselves and our teams by asking the right questions that lead to clarity of purpose and better quality of relationships with the people joining us on the journey of change.