5 for 5 blog – Flash floods and glaciers

11 Jul

Photo Jul 18, 8 58 48 AM

A couple of weeks ago, we had a great opportunity to bring 30 leaders from our team together in our headquarters location. It was week designed for learning, for connecting, and most importantly, for changing.

It was a week where many of our team shared their learning across various projects and initiatives. We brought in a team design consultants, Gravity Tank, to share with us the critical need for empathy with our clients, testing our ideas, and pitching those ideas to our leaders and partners with influence. We heard from executives on the critical role our team can play in shaping the future.

As was mentioned prior to closing up our busy week, ideally everyone was inspired. But the goal was change….transformation. If we couldn’t or didn’t change, then it was just a great social week together meeting our colleagues from seven different countries (eight if you include Texas).

I have been in meetings like this before, in previous roles, and I have seen leaders push transformation, much like a flash flood. When I think about flash floods, they bring about rapid change, but it rarely creates lasting change. Often it is purely destructive and often catches people by surprise. When transformation initiatives are started several at a time with expected implementation within a few months, how can the change possibly be lasting. Often in situations like this, the flash flood of initiatives would be kicked of, destroying schedules and work time, only to fizzle within weeks as people’s energy waned and the focus was lost on why the rush was so important.

As I have been thinking about transformation before, during, and after our group meeting, while it is not perfect, I much prefer the analogy of a glacier. Glaciers radically change landscapes…..but slowly. The progress is steady and nothing can stand in the way of the glacier as it advances. And the change is truly long lasting. These are the kind of initiatives, we are kicking off now…to make change that creates lasting impact, cultural change (not only  as teams but as individuals as well), and continuous growth.

When leading transformation, when focusing on making a difference, we would do well to adopt the mindset of a glacier rather than the randomness of a flash flood.

Last thought: If your choice is not to change, you may well be overtaken by those in your organization that choose either of these transformation strategies.

Here is this week’s 5 for 5 articles:

Expert Tips To Make Meetings Faster And More Focused – by Lydia Dishman – via Fast Company

Your Brain Is On Autopilot More Than You Think—Here’s How To Wake It Up – by Bob Nease – by Fast Company

The benefit of the doubt – by Seth Godin

The One Word You Really Need To Add To Your Resume – by Erica Seidel – via Fast Company

The Secrets of Great Teamwork – by Martine Haas and Mark Mortensen – via HBR

All the best, kevin