For so many years now I have been talking with leaders about change. Change is hard! While it is one of the common denominators of life, it is one of the most difficult parts.
We can talk about it, teach about its necessity, prepare for it, even be its cause, but it is still one tough part of leadership. Change is interpreted by 70% of people as loss followed by pain and anguish. And this is for a reason.
There are changes that are a one step process, sudden and abrupt. Things like the sudden death of a spouse, or the termination of a job, and these can be extremely traumatic, producing shock to the normal systems of life. And then there are those that are not as sudden. They can be seen from a distance, often felt before they are seen.
These changes travel through a channel called transition. They begin where you are and then lead you through a process toward a totally new and different reality. There are usually milestones of change along the way that help reduce the surprise, shock and trauma as your new future is defined. These transitions are the process of change. They occupy the ground between two realities, your past and your future. Transition is the gap between your now and your next. It is the space that you must cross. And while we tend to hate it, the truth is, it is the connector. Transition is the hallway between two rooms of your life, between where you are and where you want to be or sometimes are forced to be.
Transition has several qualities that can be examined. Because transition occupies space, when properly defined, it can be measured. Two such measurements are time and distance.
There is a season of transition and a distance to be traveled that is defined by the change. The greater the change from one reality to another, the greater the distance of transition. And if you fail to move you can stay in transition forever. Transition was never meant to be forever, but just for a season which will be determined by your rate of movement. The quicker you can embrace change, the faster you will move through transition.
If you are a leader you must remember, though, you are not traveling alone. There are others trying to make the change with you. What rate of change can they tolerate? This is where the real test of leadership in transition will be measured. It is not just how fast you can make the move, but how about those you lead? Can they keep up?
Now we all know that some will and some won’t, but it is important that we keep as many as we can. So we must find the balance in transition between getting bogged down in the quagmire of nothingness forced upon us by people who will never embrace a new reality, and running the people who will into fatigue, frustration and ultimately failure.Transition, while not much fun, can be celebrated because it signals the beginning of your future and the end of your past. Make it carefully but courageously.
But all of this difficulty does not alter the fact that change is a must for living things. It is the basic vital sign of life. So then as long as we live, as long as our vision is alive, change is inescapable. And because this is a fact, we at Destiny must go on training, coaching, and helping leaders to navigate through the arduous process of change.