Many people view change as swimming upstream. They are fighting to get what they want and will step on whoever is in their way to get there. Change does not have to be that way.
Fighting change can be self-destructive as well as harmful to an organization. We are constantly having to adapt to change. How can we do this without exhausting ourselves, stepping on other people, or even self-destructing? This is where change management comes in. This is where collaboration becomes critical.
Have you noticed how much easier it is to go upstream in a boat with others paddling with you? That is the value of teamwork. Sometimes you go with the tide, and sometimes you have to go against it, but as a team, you have a better chance of success. As a team, you rely on the skills of each other to help you achieve your goals.
Let’s face it. Change is inevitable. They say that there are two things in life you can count on, death and taxes, but guess what? That is not true. They are constantly changing the tax codes! Change is coming. The question is, how will you handle it? Here are some practical things you can do to prepare for change:
Anticipate changes in yourself, other people, and the organization. The only person or organization that does not change is a dead one.
Embrace change. There is a need for us to adapt to the changes we encounter. Look forward to stretching yourself, stretching the thoughts of others, and stretching your organization in a healthy way.
Be collaborative, not combative. Learn to communicate with the various people in your life and embrace diversity. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Be open to the opinions of others. It could be they are right and you are wrong. You will never know until you communicate and truly listen.
Whether going with and against the tide as a team, learn to work together. You will live longer and be happier for it.
Abraham Lincoln said, “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” We have a responsibility to get along with each other. Lincoln knew that if he did not like someone, there was something being triggered in him that may or may not have merit. He knew that he had to give that person the benefit of the doubt. Isn’t that what we all need and want: the benefit of the doubt? Let’s give each other a break. That is what the Bible calls “grace.”
I work in the field of leadership development. One of the things they taught us is that you have to know yourself if you ever expect to have decent and meaningful relationship with others. Therein lies the problem.
Knowing yourself is easier said than done. Most of us struggle to really understand our own behavior, but self-awareness is essential for social-awareness.
There is a difference between being self-aware and self-conscious. You know what it is? Fear. When you are self-conscious, you have allowed fear to taint your thinking. You hold back from being the real you because you are afraid of what people will think or how they will respond. Fear is not from God.
However, we are to be self-aware. We need to know who we are. When we know ourselves intimately…our strengths and our weaknesses, then we can enhance our strengths and manage our weaknesses.
I was thinking this morning of some famous Kings in history. Here are some quotes about knowing yourself and others that are worth embracing:
Rodney King (remember him?): “Can’t we all just get along?” Good question, Rodney, and worth striving for.
Martin Luther King: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” As my wife pointed out one day to me, we get to make choices, but we don’t get to determine the consequences. Every decision has consequences, many of which are unknown and yet have life-long ramifications, so choose wisely.
Michael Jackson, King of Pop: “I’m struggling with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways. No message could have been any clearer. If you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make a change.” Bottom line is, it starts with you, but it is not all about you.
Jesus Christ, King of Kings: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.” That pretty much sums it up. Love God. Love others.
When we humble ourselves and seek to understand before we seek to be understood, then the world changes for everyone. Let’s change the world for good starting today. I will start with me.