A Lion in the Tank.
My early work as an agriculturalist in Africa took me to the Okavango Swamps, an inland delta in Botswana. Our aim was to develop ‘malopo’ (river) farming, planting crops on the banks of the receding waters as practiced on the river Nile.
While parked in the Land Rover where we were working one day, my driver gesticulated wildly for me to look out the window, which I did. There, a metre from my door stood the biggest male Kalahari lion it’s possible to imagine. As I froze to the seat the giant beast arched its back, stretched on all fours, opened its gaping mouth, urinated on the sand and then silently padded away into the bush.
Life’s experience makes you resilient
In our encounters through life we overcome barriers that make us more resilient. It could be battling to succeed at school or work, long practice to reach grade 8 at piano or violin, overcoming loss. Some, for example in war zones experience greater stress, even trekking for miles over mountains to escape conflict.
As I sometimes lay looking up at the stars under the African sky, I was at first overcome with loneliness, knowing nobody and 6,000 miles from home. These experiences make us all more tolerant, resilient and give us the ability to manage uncertainty.
Don’t press the panic button
A recent study by the Change Management Institute showed that being resilient is the most important quality in achieving successful change and transformation (https://www.change-management-institute.com/resources/what-makes-exceptional-change-manager).
Managing uncertainty is a large component of change programmes, which we mitigate thorough planning and de-risking. Its our job as change managers to help clients also manage uncertainty and build up their own resilience. Our mantra is ‘don’t press the panic button’ – quite a challenge for those whose day to day operations haven’t changed for some time.
The 8 Pillars of Change
The Labovitch Consultancy developed The 8 Pillars of Change ( http://labovitch.co.uk/the-8-pillars-of-change/ ) to set guidance on establishing and running a change programme. It covers all the elements from establishing a programme and planning to managing resistance, engaging the workforce, developing toolkits and importantly practically delivering the change.
Those leading the programme and those in them require resilience and the ability to manage uncertainty. These skills are required no matter how rigorous the planning has been. That’s because new ground is being forged moving ‘from where we are now’ to ‘where we want to be’.
The 8 Pillars offer Strength for Change and consequently Success for transformation.
The Easy Life.
Dutch settlers in South Africa on their great trek into the interior in 1840 were notably in search of the ‘Lekker Lewe’ – an easy life.
Even then, without computer games and television, the temptation was to create a cocoon of easy living.
Today with our iPads, television and 24-hour sports channels, many of us are unlikely to sense the wolf at the door. But the reality is a huge build-up of forces which will change society and the way we work. Brexit, the rise of China and India, connectivity, move to clean energy, robots – all these will bring radical change.
That’s why testing ourselves is more important than ever, to become resilient and manage uncertainty.
Strength for change, success for transformation.
Working in Africa’s interior is not for everyone, but it gave me early resilience which I was able to build on later in life to design, lead and deliver change.
Guidance and support for clients offers a united strength to recognise, plan and face up to change. It builds a partnership which through the 8 Pillars rationally and creatively delivers success for transformation.
Leon Labovitch is CEO of The Labovitch Consultancy www.labovitch.co.uk and presenter of The Eight Pillars of Change.
The Labovitch Consultancy
Strength for Change, Success for Transformation.
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