Vivid autumn colors will soon burst forth across the Midwestern United States. Are you amazed by the shades of changing leaves, fall sunsets, and the harvest moon? But there’s more: it’s the season when nature dies around us. We see the grass turn brown; trees lose their leaves, and flowers dry up. It’s a transition to a barren time, a season when living things are dormant until spring brings life giving warmth and rain. Without the autumn death and the winter barrenness, the spring would not be filled with new life. Always welcomed as a time of new beginnings, fresh starts, and life; spring could not exist without the true beauty of autumn. This is nature’s illustration of the fundamental principle of death and dormancy in order to bring newness and life; it’s paramount for leaders. So then, leaders must die before they lead well? In a way, yes.
Is the status quo—your current reality—just not cutting it anymore? It’s not too late to change course for a better reality. You don’t have to live a life of disappointed “What if?” thoughts about career choice, job situation, etc. This is a case of self-leadership that is totally doable. Are you ready to be more satisfied with life, more effective in your profession, more able to engage with colleagues, friends and family? You can lead yourself to this preferred reality; you can make significant progress towards a better future. The way is to know what you want, set forth a plan to get it, and then work the plan. Know, plan, work. The keys to accomplishing this are vision, planning, and perseverance.
Not too Late to Decide
Use the key of vision to see in your mind’s eye exactly what your new reality looks like. Decide what you want. Think about the characteristics of this new reality, and as a snapshot captures details, be ready to describe it in specifics. Become passionate about it. Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, said, “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”
Not happy with the way things are going in the world? Dissatisfied with what’s going on at work, in your community, at your place of worship, or in your family? Do you want these situations to change? You can be the person that starts real, positive change in any situation. Here’s how to do it.
In the book Change the World: How Ordinary People can Accomplish Extraordinary Results, Robert Quinn describes eight steps to deep change. Deep change is not normal, incremental change. Deep change alters the fundamental state of affairs; it is radical.
Are you thinking of a situation in your life where you want – really need – radical change? Let’s briefly take a look at Quinn’s eight steps for real help in making that change.
Things change. A job situation that starts off great can, over time, become a situation that is undesirable or damaging. Quite some time ago, I had a job that I loved in a great organization. At the time, it was not unusual for employees to build long careers with the company – and the company encouraged longevity. Although I hoped to continue to progress professionally in the organization, I never envisioned leaving the company.
The Unexpected Prompts Deep Change
But, things change. My boss changed. Consequently, the division of the company that I worked for changed . . . and my job changed. Suddenly and unexpectedly, I found myself in a work situation that I perceived as undesirable for me and for my family. Let me hasten to add that I do not believe it was either my boss’s intent or my company’s intent to create an undesirable situation for me. Nevertheless, I sensed that my personal well-being and the well-being of my family was at stake.
No, this is not another article about the frantic pace of change in the business world. This post is about the ordinary things of life that burst on the scene and take us by surprise. Often when this happens, we experience a momentary sense of chaos. Chaos is what happens when life doesn’t give us what we were expecting.
For example, last week, we were expecting to finish a client project that was due Friday. However, late Wednesday afternoon our office was invaded by an insidious stream of water that was not evident until we saw water streaming out from underneath the carpet. By that time, the most of the carpet was soaked and had to be taken up. This unexpected problem brought a sense of chaos. Our operations quickly came to a halt as we swiftly acted to control the damage and repair the problem. Wow! We didn’t see that coming!