Choosing to Be Skillful with Change

Almost every leader and company we work with is going through some type of change all the time.  In fact, it may be simultaneous change in a variety of projects, teams or business units. This is a lot to handle even if you like and are “good at change.”

The reality is that most leaders (and people in general) have too much change going on, do not like it and aren’t actually good at it.  We rarely get training on how to manage change effectively and become skillful at it. I would define skillful as having “deliberate focus, expertise and experience to navigate in a masterful manner to create intended results easily.”  Whenever I share that definition with clients they say, “give me some of that.”

So, do you feel skillful with change?  What are you currently doing to navigate change for yourself, your team or your company in a skillful manner?  What are your biggest challenges around leading change? Let’s explore some specific ways you can choose to be more skillful with change.

Let me start by illustrating this using a recent client conversation (name is fictitious) with Joanne. In our coaching session she said “I have so much change planned for the Fall, I know we will get through it but it may kill us in the process.”  I followed up by asking, “What if the change could be easier and get results more quickly?” She paused and replied “That would be nice but is truly impossible.”  Over the course of the rest of our call, we looked at the following questions:

  1. What would the change look like it was easier and produced results more quickly?
  2. How could she be more skillful in managing the upcoming changes?  What would it actually take?
  3. What does her team need/want to be more skillful with the changes?

By the end of the call, we had a list of new ways to approach change.  Joanne felt more focused, hopeful and had next steps to being working out how all the changes in the Fall could actually be different.

So, I encourage you to consider these three questions for yourself and your team.  Let me know what you uncover and how this changes your plans for the Fall or Spring if you are in the Southern Hemisphere.

Weekly Uplevel Practice

Your practice this week, in addition to explore these three questions, is to do a somatic reflection (somatic means honoring the wisdom of the whole body) and notice body sensations in two scenarios:

  1. When you think change will be really hard and stressful.  Your responses might be “I feel tightness in my chest” or “My stomach feels upset.”
  2. Now contrast that with the body sensations you notice when you think you could be skillful at it and change could actually be easy.  Your responses might be “I notice I am sitting more upright” or “I notice more space in my lungs and I am breathing more deeply.”

Explore both scenarios and see what your body has to say about choosing to be skillful with change.