The 30 Fundamentals that make up the “ConnectSMART Way” describe how we want to run our business – the way we treat our clients, the way we work with each other, and even the way we relate to our vendors and suppliers. They’re who we are and they’re the foundation of our success. They drive everything we do, every day. Each week we focus on a different fundamental and discuss in depth.[/content_box]
Fundamental #17: Embrace Change
What got us here is not the same as what will get us to the next level. Be willing to go outside your comfort zone, rather than stubbornly hanging onto old ways of doing things. Think differently. Be flexible and open to new approaches.
Embracing change is an interesting concept. Very few people will argue against change – until it affects them. We have a tendency to want and embrace change in others, not ourselves. Often we want our circumstances to change by everyone and everything around us changing without moving out of our own comfort zone. We also confuse reacting with change. While sometimes reaction is good, it usually has negative unintended consequences. I think this is very well illustrated with our current President. Don’t worry, I am not going to go on a political diatribe! J I will leave my own political opinions aside to simply focus on the campaign message. “Hope and Change We Can Believe In”. Why has that promise fallen flat for a majority of Americans? Again ignoring conspiracy theories and talking points from political parties, if you give the benefit of the doubt to our President, I believe this relates to the difference between reacting to situations and change. This is highlighted in the Theory of Change. The key behind the Theory of Change is that you must first have a long term goal identified and articulated. The first place where we fail is that we are narrowly focused on small changes instead of aligning changes that are required with the roadmap to reach specific goals! Short term, intermediate, and long term outcomes have to first be identified then the changes required to meet those outcomes. The Theory of Change.org puts it this way “…Built around the pathway of change, a Theory of Change describes the types of interventions (a single program or a comprehensive community initiative) that bring about the outcomes depicted in the pathway of a change map. Each outcome in the pathway of change is tied to an intervention, revealing the often complex web of activity that is required to bring about change. A Theory of Change would not be complete without an articulation of the assumptions that stakeholders use to explain the change process represented by the change framework. Assumptions explain both the connections between early, intermediate and long term outcomes and the expectations about how and why proposed interventions will bring them about. Often, assumptions are supported by research, strengthening the case to be made about the plausibility of theory and the likelihood that stated goals will be accomplished. Stakeholders value theories of change as part of program planning and evaluation because they create a commonly understood vision of the long-term goals, how they will be reached, and what will be used to measure progress along the way.” When you “Know the Goal” (Fundamental #22) and “Check your Ego at the Door” (Fundamental #6) you can start to understand the changes that you are required to do in order “Be the change you want to see” (Fundamental #30).
The problem with reacting is that unless it is a reaction based on pre-planning it is usually off the cuff. We are all guilty of this and the problem is that we have typically proven to ourselves the success of reactivity in our areas of expertise. It is kind of like the quote by Thomas Jefferson who said “The harder I work the luckier I get”. This relates directly to our reactions as well. If you recall the video I showed a couple months ago of Lars Anderson who has redefined modern archery you could agree that his reactions with a bow and arrow to changing conditions is unparalleled. (If you missed it you can watch it here). His ability to react came about as a purposeful result of identifying a goal and specific changes in almost everything that is common knowledge in archery. By instituting those changes his natural reactions are superb. It would be foolish however to assume that his natural reactions in a different situation would be as ‘on target’. It is easy to recognize that his gut reaction with a different medium would probably not have the same spectacular results.
I don’t think anyone truly embraces change naturally. It is uncomfortable. There has to be a reason for change. And many times we don’t recognize that survival depends on change. In our personal, professional, and spiritual lives without change there is stagnation. I am not recommending changing out your life partner every ten years (remember I am talking about the changes you have to do, not your environment) J. Remember that the theory of the survival of the fittest is not the strongest! The theory is that ones with the most capacity to change to meeting the changing environmental factors around them are the fittest, and the ones that will survive!
So what goals are you trying to reach? What are the areas that you are failing in? What do you need to change? Identify those goals, recognize the change that you have to make to reach those goals, and then commit to be that change that you want to see. Embrace the change!