Our company has as one of its three cultural pillars the teachings of Jim Collins’ book Good to Great. We have, for many years now, gone off-site for our Hedgehog meeting to face the brutal facts. This process was once VERY painful, and is now just somewhat painful. The painful part is to face the facts as our clients and associates see them, not just how WE see them.
For those new to our hedgehog meetings (we invite our principle leaders from all departments to attend), they become defensive and bristle when the brutal fact insinuates that something they are connected with is just not working as it should. It is very interesting to see those mature in facing the brutal facts, who welcome the vigorous debate, actually invite the discussion while those new at it can’t wait for it to end.
We have other cultural studies that weave into this dynamic well, where we have learned to be transparent, trust others to treat our ideas with dignity and to debate in a healthy way. Still the process can be challenging if you don’t keep the best perspective. And what is the best perspective? To understand that the process of change requires a change of heart, not just a mechanical change. In other words, we must have buy-in from all to maximize the change we are seeking.
I have been writing a book in my spare time for the past year. I hired two editors to take a look at the manuscript. In the beginning, the changes they suggested were an affront to me. I believed I had excellent writing skills. I had to ask myself, “Why did I hire these editors?” I did so to gain another perspective. Over time, I have learned to swallow my pride. I coined this phrase “Swallowing pride is a lot like eating crow, but it doesn’t have an after taste.” In other words, when we decide to set aside our personal bias for a greater cause, then we really do move forward.
In business and personal life, the process of change is the same. It does require some pain to change. It requires our willingness to admit that someone else has a better idea. It requires faith that if we embark on the agreed upon consensus (consensus does not mean unanimous by the way), that regardless of our personal differences, IF we support the decision with a willing heart and mind, THEN the possibility of positive change will occur.
Think of is this way; there is nothing more constant than change. Is there ever a better time to make more of what we are engaged in? If we spend 17 hours awake, then we all have 1020 minutes to decide our path and take control of it. Here’s to the fortitude to swallow our own pride and see the world differently. To see things as they really are!