If Change is the New Normal, What Must Stay the Same?
“Everything is changing, Scott. What do I do now?”
Not long ago, as I was about to deliver a change management keynote speech, a harried chief executive manager asked me the question that you see above. If 2020 was a year of confusion and adjustment, what can be said about managing change in 2021 and beyond?
We have all heard the trite expression about change being constant. It has been applied to the stock market, computers, healthcare, transportation and certainly foodservice. As a change management keynote speaker, I was much more impressed with the three-dimensional model of change in the Harvard Business Review (October 29, 2020):
- Change is perpetual, therefore, occurring all the time in an ongoing way.
- Change is pervasive, meaning that it is unfolding in multiple areas of life at once.
- Change is exponential; hence it accelerates at an increasingly rapid rate.
I think back to just last year, when the lockdown first took effect. It changed from indifference and contention to fear to resolve and amazingly to solution. It happened to every aspect of our lives and clearly, the change exploded. Take, for example, video conferencing or the technology involved in the 2020 school year.
The Change Ahead
“Everything changes — that’s the one thing that will never change. If you hide from change, you may find yourself stuck or left behind. If you embrace it, change can take you to some pretty amazing places in life.” – Clare Moore, Forbes magazine, March 30, 2021
Ms. Moore is correct. Everything does change. No human on earth can hide from it, and I would argue that even hiding is a change (we’ve all known people who have “hidden out” in their jobs for years). However, throwing up our hands and “embracing change” hardly means that we are powerless creatures.
In our 2021 lives, both work and personal, if change is the new normal, what must stay the same? We must. You and me; us. We must be rock solid and strong. But how? Here is how I answered the chief executive.
We must look deep within ourselves and our organizations to develop three strong supports:
Vision: What is the vision we have incorporated for ourselves to withstand anything that will affect our organizations, our department, our mission, our sense of purpose in the future? Can others appreciate your vision and do they see the seriousness with which you believe in it?
Mindset: We can all come out with feisty slogans, quotes and phrases, but what is your personal attitude toward standing up to the tides of change when the storms and waves crash over you? How will you hold this mindset close when some around you are ready to fold?
Grit: The best vision and hard-nosed mindset wither and fade without the daily grit to fight to overcome the changes and the challenges.
There is no change in 2021 or beyond that can be met by complacency and “sitting down” when you must be moving forward.
It is not that change is constant, or even that it strikes fear into us, but to understand that with vision, mindset and grit we can overcome whatever is put in our way. We will be the same person no matter what comes next and we will surely win.
To book Scott Burrows, Change Management Keynote Speaker for your next event, contact him through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169