Embracing the Unpredictable
When I was a little girl, I would sit on our front porch in the summer, which faced West, and watch the low clouds form late in the afternoon, which came in a grey curtain of rain across the Earth. This was summer in New Jersey, USA.
Years later, in the family home I chose, it too faced West, with a wrap-around porch to wait for the summer rain. This place brought me familiar comfort, as the tree leaves turned upside down, and the wind rose, and the clouds gathered, and the force of grey preceded the waves of rain that make a New Jersey summer sky.
From the safety and comfort of my wide-covered porch, I could watch the inevitable late day storm.
Routine yet relatively unpredictable.
Perhaps like our technological evolutionary world, it’s uncomfortable, yet exciting for those willing to embrace that life has a rhythm yet also an unpredictable force. The Earth’s predictability and unpredictability mirrors in some ways our technological world of logic and innovation.
We are connected to the changeability of Earth, the rolling of thunder, the dose of the rain, and unpredictable clouds, just as we are connected to the evolution of reimagining the landscape of our lives driven by technological innovation.
What a beautiful, forceful, and exhilarating world we are living within.
Change is inevitable. Yet if we are true to ourselves, we need to acknowledge that we resist it.
It is well understood that resistance to change is one of the top reasons transforming an organization can falter. Therefore supporting, defining, and executing a cultural transformation that encourages a mindset of change is an integral part of your digital transformation roadmap.
Before organizational change can succeed, it must first occur at the subtle spiritual level in the individuals of the organization…All lasting transformation must begin there because, ultimately, your spirit and mine is the primary driver of all our behavior. – David Shaner, The Seven Arts of Change
The spiritual undercurrent that absorbs and accepts change, is much like the spiritual joy one can feel watching a sunny warmth filled day, suddenly turn to a changeable grey sky.
How do you wrap your arms around your colleagues in such a way that gives them hope that change can be to their benefit, rather than disturbance of the sunny sky turned to clouds and rain?
How do you effectively and sustainably navigate a cultural transformation that sticks?
The engagement of your employees throughout this process is critical, but earning their interest, trust, excitement and complete buy-in that this is good for them is no small task.
Asking individuals to stop doing things “the way they’ve always done it” is not a natural or comfortable motion. A structured culture change program can help, where the purpose of the organization and clarity of how every individual is uniquely important in shaping the “new” organization is well communicated. However, there are many more layers to a successful and meaningful cultural transformation.
Perhaps you’ve been in companies that touted their values. Maybe they put inspirational words on the walls for all to rally behind. But did you believe them? Did the leaders live by the words they so beautifully crafted for all to see?
The great responsibility of leadership is to have a purpose, a vision, and a commitment to the value they deliver to their customers and to their employees.
The message I share is not set in research and day-to-day tasks, it’s about understanding the purpose of your organization, the passion of leadership to that purpose, the caring about the outcomes you, as a company, deliver to your consumers to make their work or life more valuable.
This message is to think seriously about the value of making your employees feel inspirationally connected to the purpose of delivering your services to your customers, because it is going to make your employees’ work more valuable to them.
If you genuinely believe your services are designed to bring to life the outcomes your customers need to succeed, you are rooted in an authentic position to deliver the inspiration your company requires to deliver the products and services that can propel your customers to the success they are after, and organically your business success will follow.
It is as simple as recognizing that the clouds gather in the summer to bring much needed rain to sustain the growth of the grass, the plants, the Earth…and in that spirit, inspiring your team to follow the changeable sky.
Transparent and clear purpose, communicate this to your teams. Live this in your actions to your customers. Believe you are the Shepard of the value of your services. Embrace the changeable sky, because technology, as logical and predictable as it is designed to be, is at its core flexible, and with the right inspiration able to deliver innovations we cannot predict.
A team inspired by the “changeable summer sky,” should be untethered and free to ride the winds and drive your business into new unknowns that benefit your organization and simultaneously benefit your customers.
Welcome the wind, the grey, and the rain.
By Jessica Carroll, Managing Principle, jCXStrategies
*Originally published on June 20, 2023 on the Institute for Digital Transformation Journal (i4dt.net), https://www.institutefordigitaltransformation.org/embracing-the-unpredictable/