Widespread personal access to a wireless internet-enabled supercomputer (aka smartphone) has accelerated the rate of change and disruption individuals and industries can experience. The release of a single app can cripple an entire industry, alter employee expectations, or shift consumer behavior in the blink of an eye.
Considering these ever-evolving and perpetual beta times are the new reality, it becomes critical that you become skilled in managing and thriving through change.
Change is no respecter of individuals or industries. Change is constant and gains momentum as more and more of the world comes online.
Learning a new skill, thinking differently about a generation, or embracing a new way of working requires change. Agility has become our dearest friend in today's ready-fire-aim culture.
Portia Nelson's short story, Autobiography in Five Short Chapters, poetically captures the stages of change and reveals the progression we must follow to successfully thrive through change.
Chances are high (if not 100%) that you are going through change, so as you read be mindful of which stage you are currently in. Unleash more opportunities, productivity, and creativity by mastering these five stages of change.
Chapter 1: I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless. It isn't my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.
Stage 1 of Change: Ignorance
You are unaware that change is needed because this is your first time encountering the issue. If you are in this stage, ask yourself or someone close to you: What needed change might I be ignorant to?
Chapter 2: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don't see it. I fall in again. I can't believe I am in the same place. But it isn't my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.
Stage 2 of Change: Denial
You are aware of the needed change but choose to ignore it. If you are in this stage, ask yourself: Why am I in denial over the needed change?
Chapter 3: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it there. I still fall in...it's a habit...but, my eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.
Stage 3 of Change: Responsibility
The habit of not changing your behavior becomes so detrimental that your eyes finally open, you see why and where the change must happen which forces you to take responsibility for finding a swift solution. If you are in this stage, ask yourself: How can I take responsibility and champion change?
Chapter 4: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
Stage 4 of Change: Resolve
Your awareness of the needed change enables you to take the necessary steps to resolve the issue. If you are in this stage, ask yourself: What change must happen to resolve this? And/or is the resolution working?
Chapter 5: I walk down another street.
Stage 5 of Change: Progress
You experience the exhilaration of discovering a new path and the excitement of what opportunities lay ahead. If you are in this stage, ask yourself: What opportunities are now available as a result of changing?
I believe Nelson chose the word "autobiography" intentionally for the title of this story because it's your story, it's my story, it's everyone's story. Cyclical change will forever be the narrative of the human race. May this serve as a simple manual for making change more manageable.