You’ve heard it many times. In fact, it has been said so often it’s become a cliché. Change. Is. Hard.
Yet it’s true. Change is hard, for individuals, teams, and entire organizations. And here’s why: What was once familiar and comfortable terrain is no longer… The path to success has changed. The future feels fuzzier. Relationships and roles shift and clarity can suffer. Communication may be sparse while long-standing modes of operating give way to new approaches and different objectives.
But it frankly isn’t all that bleak. In fact, there is a palpable upside to major change. Here’s where you, the leader, can have a major impact. Your attitude and approach will make all the difference. So you need to decide: Will your organization endure change (e.g., an integration, reorg, shift in leadership) feeling white-knuckled, agitated, and ready to bail? Or will they embrace change with a feeling of optimism, alignment, and purpose? The choice is genuinely yours to make.
A couple of weeks ago, I spent the day with amazing client John Cuomo and his leadership team at KLX Aerospace Solutions, a Boeing Company. We spent the day delving into the meaning and anticipated impacts of their recent integration into Boeing. We candidly explored many of the key challenges and opportunities ahead. I offered my advice and I provided the group with my Slow Down to Speed Up® toolkit to help them get clarity on how they will develop key stakeholder relationships, manage time amid a busy workload and conflicting demands, align on what’s most important, and remain centered, healthy, and accessible to their families.
The biggest takeaway of the day was what I call CIA: Control, Influence or Accept and Adapt.
The Team at KLX Aerospace Solutions, a Boeing Company
If you’ve read my book, Slow Down to Speed Up®: Lead, Succeed and Thrive in a 24/7 World, you may recognize the following list of events and decisions that may not be in your immediate control. Which of the following rings a bell?
- Your company has been acquired by a larger corporate entity and the rules of the game change—a lot.
- There is a hiring freeze and you can’t extend an offer to a stellar candidate.
- Your manager retires, and now you have to learn to the style of a new boss.
- Your top new product fails to gain regulatory approval.
- Your best performer decides to pursue another opportunity, leaving you with a major gap and no clear successor.
You get the idea. The key to success lies in spending your time, effort, energy and resources in the right places—and letting go of the things you can no longer control. Here’s some of the advice I gave John and the KLX leaders:
Protect time to pause and reflect on what’s happening in your business through the lens of CIA: Control, Influence or Accept and Adapt. This tool will help you make decisions and get things done, quickly and efficiently, while reducing wasted energy and undue stress. Consider each decision and ask yourself: Is this a C, an I, or an A?
C: Is this a situation or decision over which I have direct control? If yes… How will I exercise that control, and what outcome do I really want to achieve?
I: If I don’t have direct control, can I influence the decision, approach, or outcome? And how can I most effectively exert that influence? Who needs to be brought into the discussion? How can I make a compelling argument?
A: If I have neither control nor influence, can I accept the reality of the situation? What can I do to make it more palatable and even turn it into something positive for myself and those who work with me? And if I can’t accept or adapt . . . what then?
Don’t waste resources, time, and emotional bandwidth trying to control decisions that are out of your hands. Instead, be like John and the KLX leadership team. Use CIA to help you get better, faster results with fewer mistakes and far less stress.
KLX Aerospace Solutions was recently acquired by the largest and best aerospace company in the world, Boeing. Change is upon us. The KLX Leadership Team took a strategic pause to focus on achieving our results amidst our growing pains, and leading ourselves and our teams through the challenges and changes ahead as we embark on our integration journey.
Dr. Liz Bywater led us through a great day together and provided sound guidance and practical and easy to use solutions. The team left more cohesive than ever, energized and ready.
– John Cuomo, Group Vice President and General Manager, KLX Aerospace Solutions, a Boeing Company
To learn more about using CIA and a host of other pragmatic tools for success, read my new book. Slow Down to Speed Up®: Lead, Succeed, and Thrive in a 24/7 World is a powerful resource for leaders from the C-Suite to the front line. Filled with innovative new approaches, pragmatic tools, and real-life success stories, SDTSU tackles the universal challenge of achieving better, faster, more sustainable results in a world of non-stop demands and constant connectivity. Get your copy today!