“You change for two reasons: Either you learn enough that you want to, or you’ve been hurt enough that you have to.” - Unknown
Change is tough. For anyone. It comes in the many forms and may be a personal choice or imposed upon you. Change often appears as bad such as a layoff from a long-term job or falling out of a friendship. But change can also be good, or needed, even if you did not ask for it. It really depends on how you handle the change and what you learn from it.
You see, most people do the same thing because “that’s just the way we have always done it”. Have you ever heard that? The why fix it if it’s not broken mentality only goes so far. Of course, when it comes down to priorities, if it is not hurting, then let it be. But, just because it is not hurting, does not mean it is helping – whatever the “it” is.
Following a process or procedure that adds several layers of complexity for no apparent reason may not directly be hurting anything or anyone, but it certainly is not helping. Yet, because someone 10 years ago, who is no longer with the organization, decided it was a good way of doing things, the process remained.
The premise applies to leadership. What may have worked to get you to a certain position within your organization or in life, does not mean doing the same will take you further. Leading a small team of 4-6, you can be very close to each member, know the names of their pets, spend holidays with them, go to their kids’ birthdays, and so on. What happens when you grow to 25 people? Or, what if you have been the micro-managing leader that wants to know every nuance of every detail and nitpicks every issue? It will be impossible to do the same with a group of 25 as you did with 4.
This is the change that is needed in order to grow as an individual, a leader, and to help your team grow as well. There is a book titled, What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith, that discusses this concept, focusing on leadership principles. I highly recommend reading it if you have not already.
So what happens when something bad happens to you, such as that layoff of falling out? It really depends on how you handle it. For many, the layoff is a blow to their ego, which can be quite painful. Many people simply do not have the savings available to sustain themselves while looking for work. Others, it is blow to their confidence. Still, it can be an opportunity to find a new passion in life, the start of a new adventure, the push needed to write that book you have always wanted. Change is difficult, but it really is what you make of it. Change is what makes you – us all – grow.
Jared W. Snow