Change, Easement, and Communicating Intentions
Many years ago, when I was leading a youth program, I decided to paint our new logo over the old and outdated decor. I left my office, bought the paint, stenciled the Latin phrase and font, and began to create what I believed was a mark of the change in our brand and values. I took pictures. I grinned. I awaited the joyful response.
It never came. The snark did, however.
My lack of intentionality in the change led to a significant increase in anxiety. My behavior was reactionary. It failed to take into consideration the experiences of others and their relationships to what once had been, but now no longer was. I ignored the sacred story that had shaped it all and had made it possible for me to be where I served. I also learned that the changes I made were not what was being opposed. My community mostly loved the direction we were headed in and the brand identity we had embraced. The rub was in not having communicated clear intentions for the project. Instead, I had acted on my own. I missed a moment of potential collaboration - one where I could invite myself and others into a healthy, reconciled, and non-combative relationship with change and the possibilities that this change presented.
Author, activist, and emergent strategist says it best:
"Often [future stress about change] is because we aren't clear or committed about our dream destination, so instead of moving towards anything in particular, we are in non-stop reaction. A first question to ask ourselves is, how do we practice increasing our ease with what is? Change happens. Change is definitely going to happen, no matter what we plan or expect or hope for or set in place. We will adapt to that change, or we will become irrelevant” (adrienne maree brown, Emergent Strategy 69-70)
One mark of a healthy leader is that they facilitate easement in the midst of change. This easement is a hallmark of hospitality and care for the community that began before us, includes us, and will go on beyond us if we paint with clear and collaborative intention.
Learning Forte has developed several models over the past year that help us walk alongside leaders as they navigate various changes in their personal and professional spaces. One of these models is called “Plant Your Intentions.” We believe that leaders who do just that can navigate change in a way that aligns with their values and goals AND collaborate with others in a way that eases angst and moves toward collective growth.
What changes are you facing as a leader or community? What intentions can you set as you shape healthy and collaborative responses to these changes? Share your ideas and questions in the Learning Hub Commons and join us for Learning Live on Tuesday, February 13 at 1:00 pm Eastern as we discuss this topic in more depth with people like you.
written by Greg Klimovitz