This morning I was listening to a Seth Godin audio book called Leap First, and I came across an interesting nugget about change. The gist of it is this…any type of growth requires change. You can’t grow wiser, smarter, stronger, more intellectually aware or compassionate…bottom line – you can’t grow if you won’t change. Now, that is not the most profound thing i have ever heard, maybe said but not heard. But, it is true. So, to grow ourselves or our business, we must be willing to change.
Here is where it gets interesting; change threatens competency. Any time we embark on changing for the better we run the very real and probable risk that we will start to make mistakes and fail. It’s just the way it goes, especially if the change we are managing is to make ourselves or our organizations better. In a culture that values competency above almost everything else, this makes change very uncomfortable and risky. Don’t believe me when I say we value competency above almost everything else, what was your last raise based on, the changes you brought about through struggle, failure and incompetency, or all the metrics you hit or missed that are designed to judge your competency.
So, we must change if we are to grow, but unfortunately we measure ourselves and our organizations in such a way that change is not only risky, it is down right wrong. If change involves failure and incompetency then we won’t change, unless we are willing to risk incompetency and allow for incompetency in the name of change. If you are a change agent or you want your teams to manage change well, then you must be willing to accept a certain degree of failure and you must create an environment where failure is, at least sometimes, permitted.