The Boss Show

Workplace wisdom with heart and humor

April 23, 2012

Change Agent, Heal Thyself

By Jim Hessler

As an executive, consultant, coach, and facilitator, I’ve long preached the gospel of change.  Constantly challenging one’s fundamental assumptions about business and the world – and adapting – are defining skills of leadership.

But while leaders (and consultants) preach change, the burden of change is borne by the people who have to live with the change. These are often employees who have gained expertise and comfort in the current way of doing things, only to have new thinking, new processes, and new technologies thrust upon them.

Now I have to cop to my own change resistance, especially around a lifetime of habits of communication. It’s time for me to get with the program and become an effective social networker. Uggh. As part of the generation of workers too old to care and too young not to care, I am going through my own halting, frustrating process of learning to market my business through FaceSpace and TwitterBook, or whatever they’re called. It’s not easy. I’m getting a lot of help, trying to understand my resistance, and holding myself accountable for taking small steps every day.

Change generates a sort of mourning.  The emotional sequence that accompanies a terminal illness – shock, denial, bargaining, and acceptance – seems to define my journey into social networking. I think I may finally be at the acceptance stage, and life goes on. I’ve started to recognize new habits and new creative energy replacing the resistance and frustration that was blocking my path.  With the help of my friends and with a hopeful spirit, I may yet “get it” when it comes to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  Well, maybe not Twitter.

Old habits and old thinking must certainly die. But as with death itself, we have to move on. Now excuse me, I have to go update my LinkedIn profile. I don’t have to like change but I don’t have to hate it either.

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About the Author

Jim Hessler bootstrapped his way from retail work into a successful career as salesman, sales manager, Fortune 500 executive, and corporate turnaround engineer. Along the way, he developed The Leadership Platform, a proven model for training managers to become sustainably better leaders. It became the basis of his leadership primer, Land On Your Feet, Not On Your Face: A Guild to Building Your Leadership Platform. Jim is the founder of Path Forward Leadership Development Services.

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