Rationally, we know that change is the only constant. Emotionally, we’re not very well adapted for it.
A whiff of change in the air, and our instinct is to bury our heads in the sand, apparently unaware that our butts are in prime position for a kicking.
When no sand’s available, and the engine of change is hurtling towards us, then we’re liable to stick our fingers in our ears and have a hum.
If these tactics don’t work, and change ‘gets’ us, then we’re shocked by it.
But while we were pretending it wasn’t happening, our world was still disintegrating, our business crumbling, our industry becoming a relic of the past.
Change doesn’t care if you’re not paying attention.
This resistance to change causes us a whole lot of grief, and wastes humungous amounts of our time and energy, as we concoct avoidance strategies, fire-fight, or mop up the aftermath. And the ripples have a knock-on effect for those around us…
But these ripples build to a tsunami when it’s a leader who has this barrier.
The biggest mistake a leader can make is being certain. Things are constantly changing, things are unpredictable…what you want is a leader to learn how to exploit the power of uncertainty
Ellen Langer, Professor, Harvard University.
It seems many leaders have a resistance, a barrier to change. There are numerous reasons. Some leaders are cocooned from the wider world, and it’s hard for them to see change coming. Others lack honest input from those around them. Or they may not have the necessary skills to deal with change and are unwilling to learn them. Plus, they may be fond of the status quo that got them to this elevated level, so there’s little personal incentive to change.
But when change is rapid and unpredictable, we need leaders who understand it. We need jazz-leaders…those who work with uncertainty, who set-up structures within which improvisation, creativity and innovation flourish, who have vision, and who co-create.
My greatest fear is the fear of not being able to go along with change, of becoming stylistic and set
Henry Threadgill, Composer, Saxophonist
Change is inevitable – we don’t need to fear what happens if we change; rather, fear what happens if we don’t.
Best get our heads out of the sand, our fingers out of our ears, and our butts into a more dignified and sustainable position. Especially if we’re a leader.
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