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Surviving and thriving in a turbulent environment calls for a particular skill set, the skills of the surfer and the martial artist, the skills of jazz rather than chamber music, soccer rather than baseball.
People and organizations that thrive on change share some fundamental attributes. And change is fractal: its basic nature looks the same at different scales. So the attributes that make an organization powerfully adaptive also make a relationship flexible and fruitful, a community livable, and an individual creative, adaptive, and secure in the midst of turbulence.
The key thing to remember when dancing with a gorilla is this: you don't stop when you get tired. You stop when the gorilla gets tired.
There is no "60-Second Change Manager" checklist, no three simple thoughts that can make us masters of turbulence, yet there are certain fundamental ideas that can help us think about our situations.
From anamnesis to zanshin, 18 specific "deep skills" of dealing with change.
If you find a book titled Sixty-Second Change Master, or The Idiot's Guide to Change, pull yourself up gently by your tie and give yourself a reality check: does this seem like something with three easy steps, or six, or 10?
To make use of the power living inside any new thing that comes our way, we first have to touch it -- not tentatively but profoundly -- at the same time that we maintain a firm connection with that which is deepest and most fundamental within ourselves.
Paradox is the place of insight. Accepting paradox, not as a momentary distraction but as a place to live, lies at the heart of dealing successfully with change.
It's possible that "Follow The Other Guy" is not the golden road to transformation. In fact, the three questions that are most helpful in deciding your path, as a person or an organization, lie almost completely in the other direction.
Are these tough times? Let's put it this way: Many people I know in the late 1990s sleep like babies -- they wake up every two hours and cry.
Don't attempt to tell the future. Instead, tell stories about it. Spin scenarios.
We all have our own closet. It's full of the things that we know but won't admit, not even to ourselves -- and the thousand ways that we don't know ourselves. Self-knowledge is the beginning of integrity, of coming out of the closet, and is a prerequisite for dealing well with change.
The father of modern hypnotherapy, Milton Erickson, insisted that trance was a quite common state, one that we drop into many times a day without any help at all -- a "petting the kitty" trance, a "yelling at the kids" trance, a "surgeon" trance, a "lovemaking" trance, a "getting dressed down by my superiors" trance.
After some time (the Seeker had long lost track, but I will tell you that it was, to be precise, one year, one day, four hours and seven minutes since they had started), they reached the summit of the Mountain of Wisdom. It was broad and flat and, to the Seeker's enormous surprise, crowded.
The fear of change -- the fear of the unknown, of things that, deep down, under the professional veneer, I wonder whether I can handle -- is quite real. It is immediate and nearly constant.
This idea -- what is essential, and what is peripheral -- is basic to all intelligent management of change. At the core of all our resistance to change is the fear that we will lose something of ourselves, something unrecoverable.
What's the best response to change? That depends on your relationship to the change -- to a great extent, on the power balance. How much power does this change have to affect you or your organization or family? How much power do you have to control it or shift its direction?