Looking ahead and planning a change at some distant date?
Say, for example, you’re creating or updating your business plan.
And so, you’re considering what that first big future step should be.
There are small, engaging ways you can start today to prepare for, and begin to make those changes so they can be made in an easy, effective, sustainable way.
Even, well, especially in small, non-threatening ways.
Let’s step back for a second.
We’ve all been through attempts to make significant change which didn’t work out well.
And we each probably have experiences of failed change that occurred in both our professional and our private lives.
Here are two of the biggest problems with change that doesn’t work:
1. A vision that falls flat
Perhaps there’s an organization you worked for that had a well-articulated vision, but it didn’t work.
The vision was probably polished, presentable, perfectly wordsmithed.
What’s more, it was probably beautifully framed and prominently mounted on the wall, so that you could walk by it every day.
And you were required to work toward that vision.
But…and this is where the problem is…if the vision didn’t work, it was probably because it was…perfectly uninspiring.
It didn’t bubble up from the passions and deeply held shared purpose in the organization (you have some shared purpose, whether you realize it or not. It may not have been clearly or explicitly articulated, but it’s there. It’s what drew you to the organization, and it’s what keeps you all there).
2. A past that has an iron grip on you
When the past has too strong a grasp on us and our organizations, it can choke or chain us to stories, histories, dreams, and expectations from which we cannot break.
And this can extend far beyond the time when all the signs are telling us that it’s foolish…that there is change that absolutely, positively must be made.
For example, some groups bound by history seem to say, “Who are we, and what binds us if we do not have the shared struggle to define us?”
Sometimes the only way to change is in extreme, dramatic or elaborate ways.
At other times, a far better way is to work on creating small and positive experiences of the future, bit by bit, step by step.
This can gradually and quite naturally create a very strong base for sustainable change.
Knowing, then, that a vision that falls flat, and a past that won’t let you out of its thorny grasp are two major problems with change, what are some actions you can take starting – even – today?
Three ways to begin creating a vision that inspires you
For now, just brainstorm answers to the following questions, on your own, or as part of a group.
Keep the exercise light, not “heavy.” Your answers will be more honest, heartfelt, and true to you and your organization.
1. What are you excited about in the future?
2. What must your vision include for it to inspire you?
3. What do you hope to keep as you move into, and help create, a different and, hopefully, better future?
Three ways to start letting go of the past
Think about the identity that defines your organization.
Brainstorm answers to the following questions. Again, keep it a light, not a “heavy” exercise:
1. How is your current identity positive, enlivening, energizing?
2. How is your current identity restrictive, prohibitive or confining?
3. What is an identity that’s far more positive and inspiring than the one you now have?
Write down, and set aside your answers for a few days. Then check in to see what other ideas these exercises have provided.
You may find that the experience of beginning to create the future…step by step…even as a positive expectation, pulls you forward more than would ever have guessed.
And if the process of making changes and improvements requires fresh eyes and an objective outside perspective, give me a call.
We’ll create a plan and get you well underway to creating a future that’s far better than what you have.
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