It has been a busy year…and a long year. But we are now into the home stretch. A little over three weeks to go. December 31 is just a day…and important day in the calendar year…but a day nonetheless.
I was on site in the UK all week and found myself thinking about change this year in our business, our company and even our industry. Not so much the amount of change (what scale would we use to assess), or even necessarily the number of people impacted by change. Rather I found myself thinking about rate of change. And more specifically my own speed of change.
Whenever I look back – and I do sometimes look back – I tend to feel good about how much I have learned, changed and grown. Conversely I feel unhappy about how long it took me. Why couldn’t I have learned more rapidly, changed faster or grown quicker? And – more importantly – if everything had taken less time then I can only assume that I – and we – would be in a better place today.
We frequently find ourselves in a new situation or role, or with a new responsibility. And more often than not, we find ourselves in that ‘new situation because we – or others – believe we have potential to be more successful…to perform better, contribute more and add more value.
But at that starting moment in our new role, our ability to perform is based entirely on our previous experiences; and – almost by definition – we are at the bottom of a ‘growth curve’. From that moment on, we learn and adapt, listen and grow. At some point in the future, our performance, contribution and value added will be much higher. In effect, we will have reached a high point on our growth curve.
So my thoughts last week were about any time this ‘change’ has happened to me…and what would have helped me move up that ‘growth curve’ more rapidly?
Well I concluded there are two main aspects – what I can do and what everyone else could do. It is easier to control what I do, but arguably what everyone else does is more important and influential.
First and foremost, I have to accept that my experiences and learning are what have brought me to this starting point; but, that if I want to learn and grow rapidly, I have to change what I do and how I do. It’s not about forgetting everything I have learned…but more that if I assume the way forward is to keep on doing everything the same, then I will surely guarantee slow progress up my curve.
If I am in a new situation, I have to be open to new and different. I have to want to – and work to – learn new and different. This sounds so obvious and easy….but even now I can hear myself saying…‘I have been successful to this moment, so if I just carry on as before I will be successful again’.
What about others? Especially others who have been through similar growth opportunities? They can coach me and mentor me. Advise and teach me. Help me avoid problems. Ensure I learn from every situation. In their minds it would be a development plan to help me achieve the potential they believe I have. In my mind, it would be an accelerated growth plan.
Such a plan would enable me to appreciate different experiences rapidly. To learn from different situations quickly. To act differently sooner. To perform better, contribute more and add increased value sooner.
A shared plan with a shared goal…