What is Change?
It’s a good question, isn’t it? What is Change? Love it or loathe it, most people have a concept of what change is, and yet we rarely discuss what it means, only how change affects us.
Change can be wanted or unwanted. Done by us or to us. We can be ‘at cause’ and take responsibility for change and its effects, or we can be ‘at effect’ – the unwilling victim in an unwanted chain of events.
What motivates us?
Some of how we feel about change will depend on what motivates us. In an earlier post in this #adventofchange series (today is Day 3), I mentioned that I am motivated by difference and not sameness. Someone who is motivated by sameness likes to do the same thing over & over again. They shop in the same places, stay in the same job, eat in the same restaurants, holiday in the same destinations.
Me? I can’t imagine anything worse. I’m so motivated by difference, I am off the SCALE! I was once asked to describe a pile of objects in a test of my knowledge. Over the next few minutes, I came up with about 12 comparisons in my descriptions, including shape, size, colour, font, texture, weight, attractiveness, tactility and a few more that I can’t remember. When I had exhausted my list of descriptions, I asked why the assessors were laughing at me. They laughingly pointed out that there was one thing all the objects had in common and it hadn’t even occurred to me to mention it.
They were all books!
I was so wrapped up in comparing the differences between them, that I hadn’t even seen their one point of sameness.
I simply find sameness boring. That’s not judgemental, it’s just who I am. I LOVE variety!
What is change?
Looking back, it’s strange to think that I had to have this pointed out to me. I have been involved in change of various types for 30 years. Even before that, as a Student Nurse I had loved the way our training took us to different wards and experiences every eight weeks – all those different experiences! I thrived on it. Others less so. During my clinical career I was frequently appointed into jobs where things needed a bit of a shake up or to specialties where patients themselves wanted to change their health habits. When I moved on from my clinical career I moved into roles which were all about leading complex change of various types and in various locations. There’s that word again. Various. Variety. It’s so important to me.
For years my career has been about change… and helping others through change. Helping people to do things differently, often in different ways and in different places. (And yes, that’s a real challenge if you’re someone who likes sameness!)
You’ll notice I’ve talked a lot about ‘doing’ in explaining my experience of change management. In my experience, whoever said “Change is altering what we DO to achieve something we know can be done” describes a huge amount of change work. And, often for good reason, that’s where it stops. It’s about getting the job done. The emphasis is on what must be done.
But that isn’t enough.
Whoever gave us that definition of change also suggests there is a step beyond. And this is the step that I’m most fascinated with, and inspired by, in my work with clients. In a world that often seems to be all about hustling, crushing it and smashing it i.e. making sure we know what we need to DO, I become ever more enthralled with who we need to BE.
Who do we need to BE to be successful?
Who do we need to BE to create change?
Who do we need to BE to lead change?
Working with clients who are on a mission to create and lead change, I’ve noticed they often have a strong sense of what they do, but less so who they are. One of the things I love about my I GOTTA BE ME work, is creating a space for my clients not only to recognise their strengths in what they DO, but also to shift their focus to who they need to BE to enable their mission to succeed.
And that step beyond change? I’ll finish with the second part of that quote. It completes the difference between change and transformation. “Transformation is altering who we ARE to allow us to achieve things that aren’t yet possible”. What a truth! There is so much more to leading change, than the limitations that our current self can see and be. When we are prepared to explore and lean into transformation, so much more becomes possible.
That’s the reason I have ‘Possibility Calls’ with prospective clients. It’s standard in the coaching industry to have ‘Strategy Calls’…. yet how can we discuss strategy, if we haven’t explored possibility?
So what possibilities are you exploring in your mission? Are you leading change or are you ready to lead transformation? Are you ready to be transformed?
If you have a mission you’re ready to pursue, or you’re leading change that you’d like some support with, let’s explore what’s possible for you. I’d love to help! Click here to book your free Possibility Call.