Volume XXII, No. 1 (Issue 1057) January 1, 2024
Everyone Has to Start Somewhere
Do you recall playing the game Chutes and Ladders as a child? Childhood game or not, it is firmly based on real life. Thus, advancing along a path only to find yourself starting anew is fundamental to our experiences and therefore growth. It is the learning curve equivalent of Ground Hog Day complete with iterations and variations.
For instance, when you entered elementary school, you were part of a group of five- and six-year-olds considered to be “wet behind the ears.” As such you were prime targets for those big, mean, scary fifth graders who delighted in picking on you if there were not any teachers or administrators in sight. But mercifully, a few years passed and soon you and your classmates were king and queen of the hill. Until a wonderous summer came and went and you again found you were the newbies – only this time it was in middle school. Once again you were at the bottom of the pecking order. But two years later you reached the summit on that campus if only for nine months. As luck and life would have it, another summer came and with it another transition. That cycle of varying lengths and experiences has happened repeatedly for each of us throughout our lifetimes.
To this day, whenever we change employers, receive a promotion or transfer, take on new and added responsibilities, relocate, experience a change in our nuclear family, have our or a loved one’s health take a dramatic turn, try on a new hobby or sport for size, make a new friend, or what have you, we find we have much to learn before we hit our stride.
January 1, 2024, marks a new beginning as well. For most of us, it may not represent a chance to wipe the slate clean – unless today coincides with a major move like a role or career change or we enter retirement. Nonetheless, many do observe the day as an opportunity to make some personal changes in the form of resolutions intended to lay claim to better life choices, habits, and outcomes.
Yet my point today is not so much about making and fulfilling New Year’s resolutions as it is about the mindset that we have when it comes to change. That is, are you someone who looks forward to change and the opportunities it might provide or are you someone who struggles with change because of all the risks and unknowns? In studying and teaching about change management, this much I have learned. How we view and accept change is closely aligned with where we stand in the hierarchy of change. If it is our idea, it is easy to get behind it and readily
embrace all the potential it has to offer. If we are on the opposite end of that spectrum where the change is one where we are simply expected to go along, make the best of it, and not make waves or ask questions, then it can be hard even for the optimists among us to embrace the smallest of changes. It is human nature.
Thus, for those in leadership roles, one of the best things we can do to help others navigate change is to give them genuine input (read: a voice) in the change. With ownership comes commitment. There are other things that are vital to successful change including careful, thoughtful planning, training, clear communication (that includes listening to the views of others), involving the right players at the right time, and the elimination of obstacles including mixed messages. Still, for change to have the best chance of success, people must buy in. Even then, the time and effort it takes for those involved to ascend the learning curve will determine the speed and ultimate outcome.
So here we stand at the start of a new year. Little of the script for 2024 has been written. Even less has been ordained. The choice is ours to make if we intend for the coming year to be incredibly special. Thus, will you be the agent for substantive change, or will you allow yourself to be at the mercy and good graces of others? Hopefully, you are excited about all that might be, and committed to making 2024 wonderfully memorable.
Soli Deo Gloria
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
J. Keith Hughey
E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.jkeithhughey.com
Transforming Potential into Unmatched Performance
Copyright 2024 by J. Keith Hughey. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for reproduction and redistribution of this essay as provided under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Recent issues of Musings may be found at www.jkeithhughey.com. Your comments are always welcome.