In recent years, the relentless fast march to the World Cup has been driving rapid change in South Africa. However we know that without a well-managed transition for our people, the ultimate goal of transformation cannot occur.
Change occurs when something stops or something new starts, it takes place at a point in time, it is situational and it is outside us. Transition on the other hand can’t be localised in time, is a gradual psychological process, it is internal, is a re-orientation and helps us to find meaning in the change.
Change is difficult because we naturally resist – our routines and stability are threatened, we need to step outside our comfort zones and it can make us feel incompetent. Change represents a loss.
And yet, the greatest opportunity for growth and transformation is after change has occurred – the transition or pause in-between letting go of what was, and moving on again.
I was reminded of this in a coaching session with a client this week. My client Peter had a role change in what appeared to be a challenging corporate re-shuffle. Peter’s new role is not the one he hoped for however, it represents the most extraordinary chance for him to establish a new way of working.
Whenever we change roles or responsibilities it is far easier to establish new practices, new attitudes and new ways of working from the start. Those you are dealing with will accept you at face value. You will then need to deliver consistently to build trust. It’s far more difficult to take your old supporters, colleagues and associates with you. They will wait to see how you get on and will be slow to adopt. Their perception of you will take some time to change.
When it comes to building your personal brand and leadership brand – and having an impact in business, how you are perceived can be directly related to your ability to be successful. When we say that perception is reality, what we really mean is that it’s a form of reality as it can be demonstrably false. And all too often it is. So when you are facing a new situation, take stock of how you are perceived and ensure that you start your new endeavor with the changes that you would like to make. It may seem like a risk, however the rewards will be enormous.