Leadership That Matters, Part 22: The Ballistics of Change

Change has been likened to many things.  When we have to make meaningful change in our lives, there are different schools of thought as to how to implement change.  In my blog post from the other day, I discussed the need for considering all the facts whenever possible, to digest the issues and to savor them, in order to get all perspectives available.

But while identification of the problem and analysis of the facts might require a little more time, when it comes to making the decision and implementing it, we are talking about some different concepts, none of which stick out to me as being better one way or another.  This morning I very briefly saw a piece on the advantages of getting right up when the alarm clock rings, or hitting the snooze button, and how that translated into the way the rest of your day panned out.

Are you someone who likes to jump in the pool or do you dip your toes in?  Do you rip the bandaid off or do you ease it off?  The way in which you deal with the pain of change might involve the amount of pain, your tolerance to pain, and how much the pain affects those around you.  How change occurs has as much to do with you as it does with those who also have to endure the change.  And just because it is you making the change, we do have to consider the impact on others, especially because the way we process it might result in pain for others.

In especially emotional change, such as in the termination of a relationship, a poor evaluation, a painful revelation, I almost wonder if it isn't better to just make it happen, to make the statement, or to not even permit a reaction. I am, of course, considering that the fast delivery of such a change and the cleanliness of it passing through our lives might be preferable to the slow, tumbling death that comes with a low-velocity round, ripping apart our souls as we pore over every inflection, every word, every alternative consideration.

As a leader, there will be a day when you have to provide a scathing review, or provide advice that might hurt, or to stop an action from occurring.  We all hate to change that relationship from what might be considered acceptable, or to avoid the stress of conflict, but when it comes down to it, which is better in the long run?  In which scenario do you believe that healing can quickly begin again? Or that we can learn from our mistakes and move on?

I guess that is a question for the ages.  Our lives evolve around the changes we face daily and the way we react to those events shape our perception of the reality around us.  My reality isn't necessarily your reality. By being enlightened about the issues we deal with we can hopefully understand that the fabric of time moves on.  From the Rubaiyat of Omar Khyyam:

The Moving Finger writes, and having writ,

Moves on, nor all thy piety nor wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,

Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.

As we change, we grow.  We must seek the opportunity to learn from what the hell just hit us and try to survive it.  If we learn, we can avoid making the same mistakes again.  If we survive, we can improve.  But in any case, nothing we can do to change it back will do so; you can't un-ring a bell.  Enlightened leaders turn every moment into a learning moment.

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