Change equals growth. A simple statement that, in reality, is anything but simple to pull off. Change can feel overwhelming, daunting and downright impossible. Human nature tends to ignite fight or flight strategies when we are faced with change. But without it, we can’t evolve.
Change starts by listening, learning and choosing new paths. That’s the first step. The next step requires leadership. Those leading change must blend the past with the future in constant evolution...before change is mandated by revolution. Smarter men than me have stated it best:
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” ― Albert Einstein
“Those who cannot change their minds, cannot change anything.” ― George Bernard Shaw
“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” ― William Jennings Bryan
As leaders, we are paid to drive change to create opportunity for others – because in order to grow, both personally and professionally, we must change. The trick is driving change before it is actually required.
So how do we work on the future, while tending to the present?
Planning for the future
As you look towards the future, you should make an effort to:
- Experiment in small ways on new projects. Not every change needs to be revolutionary (evolutionary is sometimes a good place to start).
- Understand the major trends that will create tomorrow’s opportunities. You can have one foot planted firmly in the present, while the other is exploring that next step.
- Read things you might not normally read to expand your thinking. I love when, out of nowhere, something makes me challenge an assumption or think differently. Those are the pieces I love to share.
- Reflect on the role that internal systems – like culture and motivation – play in fostering or hindering change. A lack of motivation can stagnate a culture.
- Consider your team as customers and understand and build their experiences. Leaders have a responsibility to bring out the best in their teams and to create an excellent customer experience for them.
- Emphasize building communities, internally and externally. Relationships are everything. Change management truly takes a village.
- Build trust to encourage dialogue and drive innovation. Venture capitalist Henry Doss once said that “trust brings idea liquidity to innovation ecosystems, allowing creativity, interactions and diversity to come to life.”
What are you doing to drive change?