…So I was thinking about it today, and I realized that change comes in three stages:
1. Infancy: In this stage change hurts. It is a break with routine – that which is comfortable and easy. For this reason, there is a lot of resistance and lots of thinking in the vein of “When will this be over?” Often, the idea of the change becoming permanent feels absurd. Lamentation for the way things were climbs to fever pitch, and whatever wisdom guided the initial change starts to feel impractical, misguided or both.
2. Growth: Eventually, what at one point felt cumbersome and unsustainable begins to yield results. Success breeds renewed energy around the change, and with that energy the pain becomes manageable. The change still doesn’t feel enduring, but thoughts of resentment are replaced with a subtle fondness. When thinking about the way things were before, there is less focus on returning to the old way as thoughts shift to a more durable compromise between the past and the improved-albeit-unsustainable present.
3. The New Normal: Eventually, what was once untenable becomes routine. At the summit of the mountain, the path forward feels not like an arduous climb but a gentle descent. In this stage it’s important not to grow complacent or rest on laurels – it is easy to fall back into old habits – but with a little attention to maintenance the change becomes lasting. New – even greater – horizons await.
…I say all this to encourage you to keep going as you work to implement change in your organization (or even personal life). If you are persistent in your pursuit(s), what once felt impossible will begin to feel effortless and ordinary (which is pretty much the point, I think).
As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.