Sometimes you find the most interesting sources of inspiration out of nowhere. I was hanging out at the office shared kitchen which we share with MIRARCO and a few cool mining tech companies; Vic Palkanis had generously left a shelf full of belongings he hoped others could use. As I browsed this shelf I came upon this book and the chapter I opened it up to, had something to do with “managing change”. I of course eagerly read along and in this book the author shared a very interesting perspective in which it identified that for change to happen the start of the process is actually the “death” of something old. In other words, we have to unlearn old behaviours and ways of doing things in order to replace them with new behaviours and actions.
Our methodology accounts for this through the current and future state mapping and correlating to the value proposition ranking, but what is quite different is the lens and the perspective of something having to “die” first. Yes, it sounds morbid and not very exciting or sexy, but in the past year I have had a series of “deaths” in my relationships, with the most recent one (June 2019) being the very sudden and unexpected death of my 10 year old dog who’s name was Thor. Every “death” in relationship I experienced, I decided was an opportunity for something new, but this time the death of Thor was different. I don’t know if I will ever stop grieving for him as he really was like a child, a friend, an ever present companion to us. He was always part of the action and could be found in every mundane video I’ve taken in my house. Just before he died, I remember how he jumped in the lake to “save” me in case I drowned while paddle boarding, I distinctly remember looking over at him and saying, “Thor it doesn’t matter if no-one else loves me, I know you always will.”, a couple hours later my healthy, happy doodle essentially dropped dead after a pretty traumatic drive to doggy emerg and life saving efforts that were in vain.
There is a point to this story I promise, as Thor passed away I remember asking myself, what message is life trying to give me. I could not possibly see what was good about this situation, I remember feeling like a zombie, inappropriately crying, Monday mornings are especially hard. This was the first Monday morning where I didn’t think about Thor and mourn him not being there. Now, that I look back at the day that Thor died, I realize I was making my circle of love smaller and smaller and smaller until it consisted of just him and maybe my husband and a couple friends. I was recoiling from the world and really all the “deaths” I was experiencing, I wasn’t actually looking forward to new things, I was just avoiding and masking the pain of letting go. I pretended to let go and look forward but I didn’t actually mourn the loss and come to terms with things being different.
For a so-called change management “expert” in my own right, I admit that I am not very good at dealing with change myself. Yes it is true, I am often the leader and instigator of change, but when change doesn’t happen on my terms, when it happens to me instead of by me, like most other people I tend to resist but in a rather passive way. Some may rightfully question why then would we leave our critical benefits realization efforts in the hands of a company who’s leader seems to have so much trouble with personal change, it is quite simple actually, because we can easily empathize and clear the way to allowing people to feel some semblance of control and freedom as it relates to the changes they are experiencing. A lot of our PACERs self-admittedly are change resistors rather than change champions, it is not our jobs by the way to be your change champions ????, the way we work, it is your jobs as change leaders to lead the change, we are simply here to help clear a smooth path to any change you want your people to embrace.
Leading change is hard work, we don’t envy you but if you are a leader responsible for implementing change and you are working with a PACER, please remember our only job is to identify the benefit of the change you are trying to implement and help you realize that benefit in the fastest possible manner.
So what has “changed” for the better since the death of our Thor? For me it is about surrounding myself with sources of love and joy and working on a creating “my tribe”. My Tribe as I define it is people who appreciate/ accept me for who I am, people who want to see me grow and succeed and those who seek out my assistance to help themselves grow. Fortunately for me, most of my social and professional circle is full of these amazing people, all I had to do is open my eyes, heart and mind to allow them to be there for me. If you do the same with us PACERs, we promise to be your tribe, your trusted partners, your coaches, your confidants, who will support you achieving the best outcomes to the meet the goals you’ve set for yourself and your team!
How would you complete the sentence? “The beginning of something new starts at ……” please chime in!