How do you feel about surprises? Watching someone open a gift can be as exciting as receiving a gift. There are several types of “gift-openers.” Some people struggle with the idea of destroying the creative artistry of wrapping paper and accessories on the outside of the gift. They employ a slow, deliberate approach. Others tear into a gift box as if it was a timed competition. Is it about the process, the gift hidden inside or the adrenaline rush of releasing the surprise? What about the awkward moment when you discover a gift is misguided or inappropriate? The defining moment of any surprise comes when the unexpected happens. Leading successful change is rewarding in and of itself. But, the rewards stretch beyond the process. Successful change leadership provides 3 surprising gifts that last well beyond goal achievement. Before you close out the year, take time to unwrap these gifts.
GIFT #1 – You have been given a Key.
It is a key that will unlock successful change in the future.
What is the key? It is the answer to a simple question: “Why did I initiate the change?” The answer to the “why” question will yield a great deal of insight into your success in the future. It’s important to reflect on the initial catalyst for change. Few lessons about change are more important than understanding what is required to break free from the status quo. Revisit the infancy of your vision. Remember your emotions. Something or someone triggered a sense of urgency that helped you muster the courage to take those difficult first steps. Initial barriers to positive change, whether personal or organizational share some common themes. Every successful change begins when you cross the line and take action. Refine your ability to answer the question “Why?” and you possess the key to spark future change. You will enhance your ability to mentor tomorrow’s change leaders.
GIFT #2 – You have been given a Story.
What were your Fears?
Leading change provides a unique platform for exceptional leadership. It provides an unparalleled opportunity for authenticity. Can you speak openly about your experiences? Can you tell your story? The best stories engage the senses. They connect with emotions. Your experience with change my not translate into a blockbuster movie, but don’t sell yourself short. You have a story to tell. When it comes to sharing about successful change, don’t forget to include the details of your battle to overcome fears that threatened your success. Those that deny their fears are afraid of sharing their fears. When you pull the curtain back and speak openly about some of those anxious moments when you weren’t sure about the outcome, you step into a realm of authenticity that heightens your credibility. Don’t make the mistake of dismissing the value of sharing such encouragement with others. Fear thrives in the dark. When fears are hidden and remain under the surface, they will continue to threaten your future change initiatives and your leadership potential. Successful change equips you with stories about confronting fear that will empower others to move forward.
GIFT #3 – You have been given a Blank Thank-You Note.
Write something on it!
Success is never an individual accomplishment. Every positive change in your life depends on you – but there are always others who have inspired, encouraged or rolled up their sleeves and helped make the change possible. Successful change leaves you with a great gift. When you reach a specific milestone or objective, imagine receiving a big box of thank-you notes. It’s up to you to send out the notes. Who has contributed to your journey? This list is the supporting cast of characters in your personal change story. You have a unique opportunity to express your gratitude. Be specific. Acknowledge the specific contributions of others. Express your thanks both privately and publicly. Whether it’s an actual note or just a heartfelt expression, you will continue to build trust and credibility by passing this gift along to others. Also, you will combat one of the great enemies of future successful change – pride.
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