The start of a new calendar year prompts me to get introspective and optimistic. Russian author Leo Tolstoy wrote that "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." An inside-out approach is the most effective way to create change, especially in the world of entrepreneurship.
In the first quarter of a new year, it is easier to see all the changes we have navigated in the year prior. Hindsight has a funny way of doing that. But how might you enter this new year embracing change with greater ease? Here are three tips to help you deal with the inevitability of change and, when necessary, how to bring your team along with you.
1. Proactively reflect.
Nailing a prediction should not be your goal. Shift to exercising your capacity to anticipate change. There's a difference. Predictions force one into a false certainty.
As an example, consider how fashion designers anticipate change. Fashion thinking
requires keen observation of subtle cues that are constantly popping up in our nearby surroundings, as well as in the macro environment. Reflecting with intention helps you appreciate context.
Schedule time to regularly make these reflections. Organize it as a "quietstorm" with your team. What patterns do you see?
2. Map it out visually.
Change is a journey. Therefore, experiment with developing journey maps, which are visual representations of touch points that you or your team have had when working on a project. The touch points could signal client interactions, task completion, as well as ebb and flow of the enthisiasm and energy level around the project.
There are many ways journey maps can be represented. Some are circular, indicating a process is full of feedback loops. Others are visualized as multiple horizontal swim lanes, leaving room to understand the impact of each stakeholder at a particular touch point. A journey map can help you identify who you are leaving out of a process, as well as ways to extend an experience for clients.
3. Spell out failures.
I recently came across this quote at the Arab Innovation Academy in Doha, Qatar: "Don't worry about failure. You only have to be right once." This comes from Ash Maurya, founder of consumer-centric innovation resource company Leanstack. I like this quote because it offers a refreshing reminder to remain buoyant. It reminds me of what a friend once told me when I was single and in the doldrums: It only takes one. Encouragement like this flips your paradigm from dubious to hopeful. If you reverse engineer and unpack a failure, you can better use it as a learning oppportunity. When we are honest, we can admit that our best learning has come from our mistakes and mishaps.
What if we took this year to practice flipping our paradigms, and embraced failure as learning? Try keeping a failure journal-- not as an exercise in shaming, but as a documentation of learning opportunities. It might ease the bruising a bit.
Exercise these three tips and check back in with me in a year. Hopefully, we will find that we have stretched in some remarkable ways.