Change, Priorities, and Possibility Walk Into a Bar…

close up of water splashing in drinking glass
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

But in this scenario there is no punch line, there is just a punch to the gut. You see, for the last year and a half I have worked for an unbelievable leader, done meaningful work, and been part of a supportive and flexible team. Then last week it was announced we are merging with one of our competitors and our headquarters is moving to Texas. The good news is I have been in this scenario/bar before – the bad news is I hadn’t planned on returning, and definitely not so soon. So as I look to the new year, I will be raising my glass to change, priorities, and possibilities and making the most of this cocktail.

Managing Change.  You can’t actually manage change- you can only manage how you show up in it. I had the opportunity in my last acquisition to create a leadership blog and training series on Leading Through Transition. I am grateful I can dust that off and share it with Abra leaders.  I am excited to be part of our integration team and to learn some new skills through this merger. I am appreciative that I have time to figure out what’s next for me. I don’t believe things happen for a reason but I do believe you can be the reason opportunities happen when the unexpected comes your way.

Prioritize Priorities. I had already been toying with making “Important” my word for 2019. What is really important to me? Is that where I am spending my time? Did I treat each day and each person with importance? I love the 7F Wheel by Paul Batz and the Good Leadership team, and rely on my family, friends, and fitness to make my wheel- and life- roll. This change may cause a bump to my finances and my future, but if I have faith, have fun, and have my family, friends, and fitness I know I will be ok. As Stephen Covey wisely said, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

Invite Possibility.  It has only been 7 days since the merger was announced. There are many possible possibilities ahead. As a planner – and let’s face it, control freak- I like to know the options so I can start building around them. I rationally know the short term will be ambiguous, so am choosing to focus on the long term. What do I want to do 5 to 10 years from now? What can I be doing today to start that journey? Who can I connect to and learn from?  The new year is always a good time to invite possibility and to imagine what else can be ahead.

My husband and I love wine and love touring vineyards. I really like this quote by wine maker Allen Sichel: “Wine is a living thing. It is made, not only of grapes and yeasts, but of skill and patience. When drinking it, remember that to the making of that wine has gone, not only the labor and care of years, but the experience of centuries.” Magic happens when you can combine skill, patience, and care. So here is a toast to change and to resetting priorities and reimagining possibilities in the new year.

 

Leading Through Change- Put Your Own Oxygen Mask First

“Self care is not selfish. You can’t serve from an empty vessel.” Eleanor Brownn.

Embedded in every change initiative is the intent to breathe new life into the organization―to revitalize ways of thinking, behaving and working. But as leaders we often find ourselves in the crosswinds of multiple changes, caught between a team choking on the pace of change and wheezing on our own change fatigue. To successfully lead through change the first step is to take care of ourselves. I know, you’re thinking that’s funny – I am subsisting on coffee and my kid’s fruit snacks right now. But it’s not funny- it’s actually very serious. According to the July 12, 2016 Harvard Gazette, data show that 36 percent of workers suffer from work-related stress that costs U.S. businesses $30 billion a year in lost workdays. That does not include all the employees filled with stress and anxiety who are still at work but not fully productive. So what can you do?  I suggest taking a page from the airlines. On every flight we are reminded that in case of emergency we should put on our own oxygen mask before attempting to help others. Change is bumpy. We can’t navigate it safely if we are passed out. This Leading Through Change Self Assessment can serve as your oxygen mask. Take the assessment. Then commit to LEAD through change:

Look/Listen. Reflect on your results. What are they telling you?  How is that impacting your effectiveness at work? At home?

Engage.  Share the results with someone that can help support you in making changes in your current routines.

Act. What one thing will you do differently so you can lead your team through this change?  What does that look like? What is your next step? What is your timeline?

Dedicate Yourself. Then go do it and stick with it. Encourage your team to take this assessment and share their goals and results.

It’s a lot easier to talk about transformation than to actually do it – whether it is for ourselves or for our business. The good news is if we look at what we have learned, make course corrections, and focus on continuous learning, we will have the fuel needed to make positive change over the long haul.