It’s the journey

I’m typically an impatient person. But tell me a good story about an incredible (or even a mildly interesting) journey and I will sit in rapt attention. For example, I never get bored reading, watching or listening to anything about Lewis and Clark’s journey to the Pacific ocean.

I think my fascination with any journey is why I love driving change.

I once thought (and my naive’ reading of many business books led me to believe) that change is a near instantaneous process of: Boss reads a book Monday,  implements changes on people Tuesday, is showered with praise from now cheerful people Wednesday, gets big promotion to corporate headquarters Thursday and is celebrated at farewell party Friday.

Turns out, it doesn’t usually work that way.

When I was slogging through a partially successful (and terribly slow) implementation of Theory of Constraints or failing at my first Guiding Coalition attempt, I didn’t realize that I was on a journey.

Now that I’m older and wiser, and know how to drive change (versus drive people to change), I enjoy the journey and–surprisingly enough–I drive a whole lot faster toward my destination.

Plus, now when I hit a snag, a pothole or a tree, I don’t get discouraged.

Those things happen on a journey.

So I pick myself, look around for what or who I’ve still got with me and–most importantly–keep going.

[How do I do this?  I can’t quickly explain, so I’ll borrow some pictures. Think Jim Collins’ flywheel and Stockdale Paradox mixed with Stephen Covey’s  Be Proactive and Circle of Influence.]

I won’t say today that I’ve really reached the destination of my journey.

I’m not quite ready to yell with Clark, “Ocean in view!”

But…if I tilt my head and take a deep breath, I can smell the scent of salt water a little ways off; and now and then I’ve seen a few gulls fly overhead.  So, I keep driving.

If you love a good journey, consider driving change.

If you love a good journey story, keep checking this blog.  I have a few good journey stories to share.

If you’ve got a journey story you want to tell, let me know. I’ll consider posts from guest bloggers.

Keep driving your change, maybe that ocean is closer than you think.

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Driving Change versus Driving People

Learning new things often requires learning new terms, especially when the old terms (e.g., leadership, change management) are overburdened with vague and contradictory definitions and descriptions.

Through my work with large organizational change, I’ve learned that I need new terms to describe two very different change methods, driving change versus driving people.

I’ve found driving change produces both near and long term success while driving people sometimes creates near term results but rarely produces long term success.

With the difference in results, you would think most people trying to make a change would be driving change. Yet most  are daily driving people.

How can you tell which one you’re doing?  First you need to know the descriptions and definitions of each term.

I intend to make a sharp and immediate distinction between the term driving change and the term driving people.

Let’s picture something together.

You and 20 other people live in the middle of a huge forest.  Last night the forest was hit by a terrible storm.  The only road to get out of the forest was in bad repair before, but surveying the damage this morning you see newly downed trees and whole sections of road were washed out by the overflowing streams.  The goal is to get the 20 people and you out of the forest.  You aren’t the boss.  You’re just one of the 21 people.  But, the boss has instructed you to get everyone out of the forest, including him.  What do you do? The Story Continues…

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