The Real Pain of Change

For all of the lip service we consultants can be guilty of giving to the “pain of change,” let’s hope we’re touched by our clients and their experiences enough to understand — personally — that the pain of change is more than theoretical or conceptual. Sometimes it’s a knife in the side. . .

I’ve been on the phone regularly this week with a colleague undergoing management change in her organization. Specifics aside, my colleague is living a case study: that people who once had power don’t give it up without a fight, that management changes often leave leadership vacuums and long periods of strife in their wake, and that what once was a dream team can quickly become a dysfunctional nightmare.

Our conversations have been an exercise in listening and in strategy. And I’ve been reminded of the following:

  • That progress doesn’t always elicit celebration. Progress is messy and, here’s that word again, painful. But I find it worthwhile always to recognize progress for progress’ sake. The progress in my colleague’s case is hard to find, but it’s there and finding and recognizing it helps move issues forward.
  • That today starts where yesterday left off, not two days ago or last week or last year. It’s easy to slide back in time to drudge up old issues, but that’s backward, not forward, thinking. Starting where you left off yesterday is the only way to maintain productive momentum.
  • That we may not own our own destiny, but we do own our integrity. We’re the only ones who can destroy that.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.