During a one-on-one BTL practice I was shadowing, the client talked about the resistance that inertia creates. This high-performing leader just celebrated ten successful years of service to his clients. He has a big vision for his company over the next ten years, and he is taking the productive actions needed to create some deep change. When we started our practice, he hit us with some resigned truth: “Not growing is a lot easier than growing.” Yep, that sounds about right. Together with our leader we read some Becoming Built to Lead truth: Deep change is irritating, uncomfortable, and sometimes acutely painful. Most humans cannot do it alone, and most humans don’t have a truth-teller (pain in the ass) beside them… Stop trying to be nice, friend; be kind instead. Kind is love in action. Sometimes you are tender and sometimes tough. (Thanks Toto.)
Many of us are inspired by the idea of change. The vision of a bigger, better version of ourselves, our team, or our company can be attractive, even intoxicating. We start the new program, re-align the org chart, or alter the diet, with visions of a new and improved “X” dancing in our heads.
The problem is most people resist deep change. Replacing existing patterns and surrendering control are no fun. That’s why most people need someone to agitate them when attempting to create change.
Incremental change can be just as effective and just as difficult as deep change. Dave Brailsford transformed British cycling by compounding incremental gains in every possible area, looking for consistent 1% improvements over time. This type of change, while less jarring, presents its own challenges. The consistency needed to realize the sum of these improvements requires constant agitation. Elite performers understand this and cultivate the ability to agitate themselves; for the rest of us, this is where a good builder comes in handy.
We left our client a bit agitated, and ready to agitate some others. How about you? Are you ready to shake something up today? Good.