“The only thing that is constant is change!” – Heraclitus

It seems far-fetched to imagine that something said by a Greek philosopher over 1500 years ago would still be so relevant in our world today and yet we only have to look back at fairly recent events in our time (economic crisis, political shifts in power, technological advances and the re-imagined world of consumerism) to know it to be true.

We live in a VUCA*world, and that’s definitely not going to change anytime soon. So how do we learn to become increasingly more agile, build up our personal and organisational resilience and learn to love change? Here are a few pointers that can really make a difference.

1. Tap into two powerful types of emotional drive

Emotions is a double edge sward – sometimes we want to escape and move away from whatever is causing a painful situation and other times were propelled towards by something we want to get closer to. Ticking both boxes by appealing to both types of motivations not only engages people, but builds agile mind-sets of organisations consistently future focused.

2. Knowing ‘why’ helps it make sense

Most of us know that feeling of unease that can come about when we’re not really sure why something is happening or where it’s leading. Whilst some like to head-first into the unknown, others are more hesitant. Having the background and context for any change ahead can really help us make sense of what’s going on. And when we understand something, even if we don’t agree with it, fear often subsides and those first steps in the new direction can begin.

3. Create a sense of urgency

But not a sense of panic! This can be a fine line to tread. A sense of urgency, when positioned thoughtfully can produce the much need spark to set the wheels in motion. People need to feel that whatever changes are afoot, they are important and necessary to the organisation. Staying the same is not an option. Even if the change is risky. This approach comes with a health warning though – use it when it genuinely is a moment for urgency and courage.

4. Create an igniting future

Ever found it difficult to go on holiday? Thinking about fabulous destinations? Almost tasting the great food you’ll eat? Maybe even hopping out of bed with no trouble at all in the wee small hours to make the long journey? Most of us have no trouble at all. Because when the future we imagine is exciting and full of potential, it becomes easy to move towards it. It’s something that we want to make happen, not something that is being “done to us.” And that makes a huge difference. When John F. Kennedy announced to the world that ‘America was going to put a man on the moon and bring him back down again, safely” he had no idea how it could be done. But it was such a powerful ambition that it galvanised not just the whole of NASA but the American nation too. So, what’s your ‘Man on the moon’ going to be?

Three things you can do now

  1. Get clarity about the change that’s needed and the reasons why
  2. Make both sides of the emotional seesaw work for you. If it’s an urgent and important change, unearth and share the sense of urgency
  3. Paint your igniting futures to share with everyone that needs to come on the journey with you

*Volatile, Uncertain, Complex & Ambiguous


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