Leading change takes time to be you

Photo ©Jenn Shallvey 2015
Photo ©Jenn Shallvey 2015

Change takes time.

Think about this for a moment.

Nature is a great example. Whether a flower growing or a pile of leaves decaying back into earth. The process each undergoes takes time.  Our body and wellbeing is another example.  We heal physically after an injury, or even emotionally after a loss, over a period of time, not instantly.

Time is our ally, not our enemy.

The battle that ensues is less about time and more about expectation versus patience.  On one hand we have both internal and external expectations. We accept or reject these expectations.  Depending on our expectations then we either embrace change with patience or not.  

Allowing for the natural process of change to take place requires patience.

This relationship between change and time is the same for leaders in business.  As a leader who might resonate with the idea of being a Change Initiator you will have a vision and an idea of how you want things to be. You can see quite clearly in your own mind and feel in your heart the change you want to create.  Yet others who you wish to influence and help lead in this direction may not.  So it takes time to influence, negotiate and work together to create the change.  

Being a Change Initiator™ takes patience to work with change externally.

Patience also becomes important when learning what it means to do things in your own time.   As a leader you are on your own journey of growth and internal change. As a leader your change happens in its own time irrespective of what happens with change you lead or create. 

Being a Change Initiator™ takes patience to work with change internally.  

Change therefore is occurring on different timelines internally and externally.  There may or may not be awareness of this change.  The one constant and similarity for all though is that change takes time and thus requires patience.

Time is unconditional

On another level it is important to note that in the midst of change, time does not discriminate.  No matter who you are and what you do each of us is impacted by change and time together.   This relationship is further impacted by the different worlds within which we travel -work, family, community, friends. In each of these worlds there are expectations and intersections of different paths.

As a leader you are initiating change in both worlds - yours and others.  The intersection of your experience with others means that for change you need to balance what works in your time and others.

What affects how you determine your own time and the intersection of time with others are many.  Most important of all is knowing what matters to you as a leader.  Unless you start with this knowledge you will be easily distracted or influenced.

Start with you

Before you as a leader set out to lead or create change you need to be prepared. For me being prepared is about working with your self.  

In the context of this post lets consider time as one area of focus.  

  • What do you do with your time?
  • How does time intersect with change in your experience?
  • How do you let time affect how you lead change?

These are just a few questions that scratch the surface.  Going deeper requires a little more persistence.  If you are ready to go there then I ask a few more questions.

  • What power do you give over to time that really you need to take back?
  • How much do you let time be an excuse for what and how you achieve or do not achieve change? 
  • To what extent are the deadlines and important time markers in your world set by others?  
  • What would you do differently?

One reason why I am focusing on your time and change is because I often meet or work with people that think they do not have enough or should have done more with their time.  Usually there is a perception that in a certain time frame one should have done, fixed, completed or ticked off the list a variety of achievements. This self defeated view means we also set ourselves up for the perception that we have failed. We are our own critic and judge.  

If something we set out to do does not occur in a given time frame then maybe it is actually the best for all. Maybe there is an opportunity in the delay. Maybe something else is coming up that needs to be addressed in this time that really requires more priority. Yet we are either avoiding or not conscious of this reason.  

A self aware leader committed to change will stop and reflect on time and change. This reflection becomes not about what didn’t get done and more about why and what needs to be adjusted.

What is most important is understanding what time means for you in terms of change. 

The magical outcome is not mastering time but mastering your response to time and change. Experience and lead change at a pace that is right for you.  Regularly reflect and adjust this pace.

Lead at your pace with time as your ally not your enemy.