“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
You’ve heard it said that “Two things are certain in life: Death and Taxes”. I think we can add a third item to the list that is just as certain: “Change”. Change is inevitable. If you are trying to grow your organization, there is no way to avoid dealing with change. How you navigate change will always change your future one way or the other.
There are basically two types of change that we have to navigate as leaders. The first is change that happens to us. We didn’t ask for it, it just happened and we need to respond and adapt to the change. The second type of change is the change we initiate personally or within our organization. This is a change in plans that affect either direction, goals, systems or structure within our realm of influence. Whether or not you are responding to change or initiating change, there are some key guiding principles to consider as you navigate the uncertainty of change. King Solomon gave this advice.
Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail. (Proverbs 19:20-21 NLT)
The three common mistakes that leaders make when leading through change are: acting too quickly, settling for limited options, and not seeking the right counsel. Successfully navigating change requires patience, wisdom and humility.
I like watching a seasoned quarterback leading a two-minute offense to try and win the game. The clock is ticking but he is cool and collected. He faces the challenge with a sense of urgency but he doesn’t panic. The same kind of patient focus and intention is needed when navigating change. Be keenly aware of how much time you have and use it wisely. Remain confident while navigating change. As a leader, you must always face the brutal facts of reality yet keep hope alive.
Never settle for limited options. Leaders often have an internal pressure that makes them feel like they should have all the answers for every problem. The truth is, you probably do have an answer, but it may not be your best option. Seeking wise counsel and advice from other leaders and from your team members is extremely valuable. You will gain a 360 degree perspective and significantly increase your pool of viable options. The added benefit of involving your team is that they will feel valued, listened to, and they will have more buy-in to the final plan. When you seek advice, you also make yourself accountable to others because you have included them in the process. Accountability is a good thing.
You will most likely have to navigate change today. Let me encourage you to begin this day and everyday by prayerfully seeking God’s direction and wisdom in your leadership. Always remember, His purpose will prevail! Change is coming…are you ready?