Years ago I came across an old German saying which translates to “the heat of change attracts demons” – it sounds much more imposing in German – “hitze des wandels zieht dämonen”. This saying (and I love quotes and sayings) has a universal truth to it – change is hard, change creates friction, and friction creates heat, and this heat will seem to be in the form of demons at times. And when the topic of change comes up – this saying always pops into my mind.
President Woodrow Wilson once said “ If you want to make enemies, try to change something.” – that’s funny on a number of levels but is true whether in our personal lives or corporate world – it does seem that many obstacles will jump in your path once you try to make change happen. Can’t count the number of demons in my life during the past few months with all of the changes going on but life seems back to normal (for now), and this topic seems way appropriate and timely.
A few years back, I was forwarded this article by someone whose leadership abilities I admire greatly – this story introduces “patterns” or ways of introducing change – Fearless Change: Making Change Happen By Using Patterns. Over the years I have been part of a number of efforts to implement change at work or in various organizations – and the only real truth I have learned is patience. Patience in knowing that change will take about 4 times longer than it should, and that it will require a constant exertion of effort, and that wins will be very small at first but should be measured and celebrated to keep forward momentum – even the slowest forward momentum to continue. Now I find myself at times counseling others in not losing hope that change is possible and that they too will need to be patient, vigilant and stubbornly optimistic. Start small, measure the smallest progress, and recruit allies.
Tonight I end with this quote “The only difference between a rut and a grave is their dimensions.” from Ellen Glasgow. I admit to being in a rut lately in a variety of categories – time for me to make some more changes – despite whatever demons may jump into my path.