By: Elisabet Medina
Did reading that title make your stomach turn slightly? There are aspects of our lives that we wished would never change and others that we wished changed in a heartbeat. Choosing the change that we want is a luxury and grappling with the change that we don’t want is inevitable.
As leaders a big part of our role is shepherding the change process.
Change can come in transitioning of staff, new policies, new programs. We can subconsciously subvert change when using language like “when so and so was here we did things this way”. We can block new ideas from emerging when we say, “we have tried that before and it didn’t work”. Or the adage “if it's not broke don’t fix it”. While all of these statements can be right, often we can fail to appreciate the unique point in time we are in with the people right in front of us, right now, with the resources available in this unique situation. Change provides an opportunity for growth and situational leadership. It is important to recognize the opportunities, to pace change and be strategic about what change happens when.
Adaptability is a critical skill as social problems continue to evolve, political climates ebb and flow and economic tides can change the course of our work. How we lean into or avoid change speaks volumes to those around us and sets the example for others to act accordingly regardless of our title and position within an organization.
Faith is also a critical component. Faith, that we ourselves have the capacity and willingness to change, and to be able to visualize the change taking hold in order to cast vision and support our teams through change. I’ve often witnessed burnout and what I call change fatigue; when change feels like an onslaught to keep up with rather than an endeavor that is worth pursuing. Faith in ourselves, our teams, and our mission is the motivation that we need to keep going.
Unity, is fundamental for change to take effect. When there is confusion about why that change is occuring, what problem the change is addressing and each person’s role in implementing the change our bias towards the familiar can hijack the benefit of change and prevent it from taking root. It can also create division between the “old guard” and the “new guard”. Nostalgia for what was can inhibit progress. We cannot recreate the past, we cannot anticipate what the future will hold, being unified in the present is our best chance for success.
Questions to reflect on:
What is your attitude towards change?
How do you demonstrate faith in yourself and those around you?
How do you contribute to unity or unconsciously create wedges?