Change is inevitable. The old saying is right, “the only thing constant in life is change”. Sometimes we embrace it but most of the time we either fight it or drag behind it. The old way is so familiar to us we often lose track of the rewards of moving in new and different directions. Change is hard, it brings discomfort. Change is also new and refreshing and can bring incredible success. The difference between these two perspectives on change is usually our own attitude.
Rolf Smith in his book “The 7 Levels of Change: Different Thinking for Different Results” makes a point that 5% of people generate change, 15% of people handle change and 80% undergo change. If you are in the middle of change and you fall into the 80% camp, I’d like to suggest something to you. While you are feeling the effects of undergoing change there are two pillars you can grab onto that can help you tremendously while you are in the midst of it all — grace and persistence.
Grace is something we need to give each other during change. If you expect that everything will just sail perfectly during change, forget it. People will mess up. Things will not happen. You’ll be disappointed. The pillar of grace will redirect your attitude and help you escape the bondage of cynicism and doubt. It will help you come alongside your fellow workers and help them, encourage them and, in many cases, find solutions that move the process of change forward.
Persistence is a personal quality that keeps you focused on the target. How many of us are like the Israelites of old and, when things get a little tough, prefer to go back to Egypt and slavery instead of moving forward to the promised land? Instead, what should keep us going is unwavering belief in the vision. During change it’s the personal belief in the vision, the end result, that should keep us moving ahead. Sometimes it’s three steps forward and two steps back, but in the end, it’s persistence and victory over the easy path of grumbling, complaining or rallying to turn back that moves us (and our organization) forward.
Grace and persistence are the pillars of change. They keep us focused on the result while at the same time help us extend ourselves to not expect instant miracles and give the kind of support our team and our organization need to reach our own promised land.