As we approach my next Leadership Event, the topic of transitions and change is on my mind, how we can operate in uncertainty and how we move forward, or don’t with projects and transitions. It’s such rich territory to see so much about life and work, and this post is a one way we can conceptualise this area to make more visible the range of choices that we think we have as leaders and humans.
The Baseline and the Net…
One of the things I notice when I start to work with clients is that they often have a go-to strategy in certain situations that has worked for them in the past. Usually very well. But they’ve reached a point where they see limitations, or the trade-offs that it’s created-working so hard they can’t slow down, or some other version of doing well but not realising there are better, easier ways.
We can fool ourselves that playing the same game gets the same results, but what’s more likely is that we get the mental equivalent of a repetitive strain injury-which doesn’t feel great. And… what I’ve also noticed is that the same tactic doesn’t work as well, or maybe it never worked as well as we thought, we just see it more clearly.
But what else is there?
If you’re the tennis player who has a great baseline game but is losing points at the net, and failing to improve against better players, how do you get the ball back in play? And do you realise that there is a whole world of potential ways to play the ball and then you can pick the one that works for you.
The ‘Change Game’
I’m not sure the metaphor truly stands up in the leadership world but there’s a perspective behind the tactics that is incredibly valuable, the place where I like to take my clients to see that they have a whole spectrum of responses, and that swapping out their go-to for another isn’t a trade-off, they are not ‘giving’ up’ one go-to option for another, they are opening up a whole spectrum of options.
And they kinda know this already. They know that the go-to response, whether it’s a tendency to over-analyse, or procrastinate, or a realisation in retrospect that we are pretty poor at predicting the outcome and things typically turn out better (and sometimes worse!) than we expect. Plus, all that needless worry we create for ourselves…
As I said to a client yesterday,
You can still choose your go-to response but when you have agency and not constraints you have much more freedom over what to do. and that freedom creates both the potential for much more productive and personally satisfying outcomes.
It’s Not in the Shot…
As with tennis, there may be some ‘training’ around the new approach but the place to test yourself is to ask,
How wide is my spectrum of possible choices here?
And if you’re imagining a spectrum that even has edges, I can promise there is a lot more to see here that will allow you an infinite number of wiser and loving actions.
Here to help with leadership and impact. I have lots of free resources here, including regular free seminars, if you’d like to explore more deeply or join a conversation.
Originally published at https://cathypresland.com on March 3, 2021.