Creating positive change can be challenging, that’s an understatement. Most people resist change, unless it’s their own idea. Take a minute to jot down the answer to these questions: how have you changed lately? Go ahead, what have you changed in the last week? the last month? Be specific. Howard Hendricks, in his book Teaching to Change Lives, said, “If you want to become a change agent, you also must change. . . If you want to continue leading, you must continue changing.”
John C Maxwell tells the story of Henry Ford’s love for the Model T in his book, Developing the Leader within You. Henry Ford had been advised that the Model T would soon be left in the dust. He had no interest in changing it. When his lead production manager rolled out a new design — gleaming red, low to the ground, 4-door with the top down, Ford went maniacal. He destroyed the car and lost his lead production manager to GM. Eventually the competition forced Henry Ford to start making the Model A but his heart was never in it.
I arrived at a new organization a couple of decades ago. They were doing everything differently than I’d ever seen before. After every weekly team meeting, I would say to myself, “That’s not right and I’ll find the evidence to prove it to them.” So I would tear into a week of research to find the facts that supported my old way of doing things, only to find facts that support their new ideas. So I would resolve to accept the new way, this week. Then at the next meeting they would bring some other innovative idea that was being ushered in. I left the meeting resolved to find the necessary facts to demonstrate to them the old way was the best way. Again, all I would find is more evidence that change was needed. That went on weekly for six months before I decided this organization and these people might be on to something!
Being receptive to new ideas is the key to not getting stuck. Change may not be easy or comfortable or even your favorite thing but it’s a necessary part of staying alive.
Change equals growth.
When you’re facing change a good exercise is to make a list of pros and cons. What are the pros that will come as a result of the change? What are the cons that will come as a result of the change? Be thorough in your research. This is not the only list you need to evaluate the impact of the change. Make another list that describes how this change will effect you and others mentally and emotionally. Seeing all of this in black and white can be clarifying.
Resistance to change is universal because it disrupts our routines and creates fear of the unknown.
Max De Pree said, “We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”
When change is successful, you will look back at it and call it growth!