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Dave's Ponderings on

Change and Resilience

Real change becomes a function of the quality of awareness and commitment of the people involved.


Greetings Colleagues!

In my last Pondering, I touched on change and resiliency.  This Pondering will delve more deeply into “change” and the role of leadership in being resilient.

Most situations that we find ourselves in these days can be considered complex.  The characteristics of a complex situation include: flux and unpredictability; multiple possible answers with no clear right one; unknown unknowns (or not even knowing enough to know what to ask questions about); multiple competing positions and ideas; and a need for innovation and creativity.  When we experience a complex situation, we often have to fight an urge to immediately define a solution.  Rather, it is critical to be patient and reflective, allowing time for probing and experimenting to increase interaction and communication by those within the situation.  Instead of getting trapped in the trees by seeking facts, we need to look for patterns or take the time for patterns to emerge so that we can see the whole forest (internal and external organizational eco-system).

"We must be the change we seek."

Mahatma Ghandi


In my experience, organizations that consistently deal well with complex situations have effective leadership distributed throughout the organization.  Often, many people, and sometimes everyone, will be involved in leadership.  Leadership becomes a function and capacity of the resilient organization.  It is facilitated and encouraged.  Listening becomes the most important element of probing and reflection.  More importantly, those of us structurally accountable for leadership must be willing to model the change we envision for others and be changed ourselves as we work through complex changes.  Looking at my own experience, I find myself agreeing with the conclusion that real change becomes a function of the quality of awareness and commitment of the people involved. This echoes an insight from the late Bill O’Brien, former CEO of Hanover Insurance, that the ultimate determination of a successful change effort is the inner state of the intervener and the ability to connect with people’s dreams and aspirations.  Vision becomes shared, strategy is clarified, employees and stakeholders are involved and engaged, innovation moves both up and down the organization, and knowledge is shared.  These are all elements of adaptive capacity and a resilient organization.

Until next time, I wish for you a resilient and flourishing life and organization!

Next up:  Resilience as a function of the internal and external organizational eco-system

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