Markets evolve. External influences change over time. People come and go. Strategy gets updated. Processes alter and business models get refined. It’s easy for us all to declare we are comfortable with change, because we think that’s how we should be. But it often strikes me that actually the thing that is hardest to change is the way we think about things: our default position if you like.
It’s true that we tend to see the world “how we see the world”, but sometimes we need to challenge ourselves to turn things on their head and see if it gives us a different perspective.
There are possibilities for us to do this all the time. Here are two recent examples for me:
For the last 23 years I have been a mum who works. I have always thought of this choice as a wonderful thing and have castigated myself on occasions for not being quite perfect enough in either role. I recently heard a very senior woman in a law firm say something that caught me by surprise. “Women are blighted by choice” she said “If there weren’t choices they would do as many men do and simply focus on their careers”. It doesn’t matter whether you or I agree or disagree but it did make me reflect that choice in itself is not always 100% a good thing or at least it comes as a package deal. Having that perspective means we lose the sense that because we have choices we can “have it all”.
The second was a business friend of mine (recently divorced) who declared “no two people are designed to have a great relationship that lasts for ever”.
It’s easy to believe this statement and we can all find evidence to back it up when you look around you both at work and in your personal life. But actually that’s a pretty depressing viewpoint. It made me reflect that a more helpful perspective might be that all relationships go through phases, some good, some not so good, and that sometimes we can set too great expectations for all our relationships which means they will always fall short.
None of this is about right and wrong but about finding possibilities that help us move forward positively and sometimes challenging ourselves to see the opposite of what we initially think can be helpful.
For more information, please contact Judith Nicol, Director of Leadership Services.