This past year I've experienced "transitional speed-up" while writing Innovation in a Reinvented World, a reminder that embracing the ebb and flow of disruption is the norm in this new reality.
The speed of change and the degree of complexity in solving big problems in the new world of business requires a faster regeneration of our innovation DNA. Our ability to manage beginnings and endings, entrances and exits with agility, speed and finesse will become enhanced skill sets in the coming years.
Unfortunately, institutions--business, education and government--waste far too much time preparing and keeping people in place instead of educating and rewarding them in the art of the exit.
Embracing a life of transition requires that we prepare people for three things:
- When it's time to let go of the old (the release)
- How to release (the transitional process)
- What to leave behind or bring along to enhance the next entrance (the reinvention)
Learning to see our lives as cycles of transition helps us to accept endings as a pathway to new beginnings, creative opportunities, and innovations.
Pain Comes from Hanging On
I've suspected for some time that pain comes about when we hang on too long to outworn ideas, products, services, processes, and even relationships we've outgrown. By ignoring the early warning signs that "something" is stale and must either be rejuvenated or released, we miss opportunities for embracing disruption and innovating in front of the curve. Mediocrity becomes the norm by which we measure our lives and our relationships, our career or business, and our products and services.
In today's (still) sour economy there are plenty of people hanging on to toxic jobs that they hate and unhealthy relationships that they outgrew years ago. Leaders and managers do the white-knuckle-grip of fear, hanging on to the old way of doing business because disrupting an organization comfortable with the status quo is too risky. Companies continue to reward false distractions that deflect real change and transformation.
Our anemic economy requires executives, business leaders and professionals with the courage to shake up their fear-based mindset and embrace disruption with a clear objective towards innovating.
Transition can be a fearful thing for many people. The pace of transition in our lives is happening at such a fast clip that we're seeing this anxiety play out in societies around the world.
For years, as a reinvention readiness consultant and innovation catalyst I've helped people navigate and embrace change; teaching executives, business leaders and professionals about connecting the dots--"reading" and recognizing endings--in prepartion for new beginnings.
Exit Strategists, Transition Specialists
Today's businesses require navigators, guides, mentors and coaches for a reinvented world--transitioning us from the old world (old thinking) to the new world (new thinking).
We need people who are comfortable with recognizing and leading disruptive change and innovating in front of the curve. We also need people who can identify those who, in general, struggle with change and who will serve as bridges for these individuals who must learn to adapt and thrive in this time of transitional speed-up.
Business leaders must move away from punishing workers for not keeping up and, instead, reward them for assuming ownership for their own disruptions--career, business, and personal--providing various types of safety nets as they step out and design transitional accountability into their lifecycle plan.
Preparing people for a lifetime of transition also means allowing people to cycle in and out of roles (and the rigid titles that often accompany them); removing the "position stigma" that often comes when someone steps back to strengthen a skill or to lend their expertise where needed. Organizations will need to reinvent how they recognize and reward people for their contributions when continuous learning at any age and at any stage in someone's career is now a requirement.