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managing Continuous Change…

by | Nov 30, 2021 | Continuous Change, Journey, manage

“Why do I have to Change… AGAIN?” It is one of my most often asked questions — usually as I wrote about yesterday, in a raised tone of voice. The less polite version is clearer — “THEY should Change!!!” Yes… and “They” are not in this conversation… you are. You asked for this. Or didn’t, but either way, here we are again, managing Change… and the impossible nature of that work. In a workshop early in my Coaching career, a man said he can cure migraine headaches. It took work on Change – Continuously – for 10 weeks in a row. Take a guess how many made it to the last session – where they were cured of a lifelong debilitating disease?

… none of this was on Greg Rolie’s mind. He simply wanted to play some music… keyboards and 3 other instruments, sing, write most of the songs, and manage Santana through yet another platinum album. Born in Seattle, he was in high school in Palo Alto in the mid-’60s as he and another teenager founded a blues band that they named Santana Blues Band. Greg went on to be the lead singer for the band — no that is NOT Carlos singing — and co-author of most of the hits of those 3 amazing albums. It was, in fact, Greg’s playing on the Hammond B3 Organ that shaped the way that instrument was used in rock music. None of that mattered now… that was over… and he was done…

Many of us have faced this in the last 2 years. What was normal – “playing our music” – was now impossible… and yet, was it really? Even before Covid forced Continuous Change on us all, 100% of the leaders I work with were managing a feeling like “…is this really what I want to be?” The deeper conversations that I managed were all about what else could be possible, how could they move forward with something that is more fulfilling, more rewarding, and more impactful to the world around us that needs us all so desperately… even BEFORE the crisis. Much is now being written about “The Great Resignation” … but that started LONG before the physical virus invaded us. An emotional, soul-based virus was already flourishing…

… and back to those trying to Change their migraines… less than 10% of participants came for the last treatment. 90% would rather manage something .. to blame … than deal with Change. It was sobering for me to hear, and more sobering that it reminded me of what I found with Change in the corporate context — organizations can only take so much… of me (..stop laughing…) and more importantly, of the multiple Changes that I was championing. I got better at managing that, starting many things simultaneously in different areas, and simply time-switching between them to keep myself engaged. It gave me the illusion of efficient, Continuous Change as I could simply “miss” waiting for each group to catch up…

… but the toll of managing this type of Continuous Change on me (and those around me) was a silent killer. Like Greg, the tell-tale signs of the tensions were hidden by my constant pace of moving forward, feeding my ADD and Restless nature. Even changing careers dramatically only delayed the reckoning. And the great gift of Covid for me and many others is that being FORCED to stop what was normal made me realize that I was simply pushing this bow wave of Change forward Continuously… never actually doing anything about it. That was where the volume in my yelling was coming from – not at the other person, but more at my true self…

… Greg left music completely. Unplugged, let it go — his natural talent and calling — to go into the restaurant business with his father — a worthwhile pursuit. His “Great Resignation”.. and… when it failed, luckily the phone rang from a bandmate who lured him back to his real passion… to play some music. As the story develops this week (… and next… ) you will see how important “others” are to the best practices of managing Continuous Change… and that you have to develop that group BEFORE you need them. I will steal a little thunder to note that his success was FAR larger after he embraced the Change than before…

… but for now, what is it that you need to manage about Change? How can you understand that those feelings and inner voices are not going to go away? They are simply going to continue inside until they are staring back at you – usually from someone that will, as a good friend said to me once, come out of the mouth of someone that is “… just like you at your worst”. Yep – faced with that reality, I had to really come to terms with my own Journey… stop… Change…and start To Play Some Music…

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