Are You a Change Taker, or a Change Maker?

Change is a part of life, and in today’s world change happens faster than ever.

This break-neck pace of change can be overwhelming to CEOs who resist it, and in order to be effective in our roles, we have to learn to competently and comfortably manage and adapt to change.

Individuals will need to adapt, but so will any organization that exists in the modern world.

Here are some things which rapidly and constantly change today, more so than they did in the past:

  • Technology – CEOs may find that their latest acquisition is out of date just when they integrate it into the organizational system.
  • Staff – It’s estimated that the average person graduating college today will have three careers over a lifetime. Just when you think you’ve put together the perfect team, you may lose someone and have to begin all over again.
  • Structure – The structure of everything is changing. From the way businesses interact with customers and clients to the nature of organizations and how they are put together, structure changes rapidly. You could say a modern organization is more fluid than ever.

Naturally, the role of CEOs is to navigate, handle and even foresee change. If we become a bottleneck to progress, we’ll soon find ourselves and our organisations extinct – just like the dinosaurs!

Change can be a time of great opportunity and growth, for those who see it that way and manage it correctly. Let’s look at how adaptation happens, and what we can do to foster it.

The Cycle of Adapting

Recognizing the cycle of adapting is the first thing that’s needed. Once we learn to see this process in play, we’ll feel much more comfortable navigating change, knowing that it’s a process and we’ll eventually come to feel comfortable and even happy with the changes being implemented.

Remember clarity, focus, engagement and promoting performance that we’ve been exploring in greater detail in recent articles? All of those are tied together in a way which drives adaptation. Taking the time to realize how each of these four feed into each other, and how taking the time to take care of each element will, in turn, foster a virtuous cycle and allow us to adapt more quickly and easily to change, we’ll be deeply motivated to look after these areas of our lives.


– The Cycle of Adapting Model –

You might like to go back over the four posts and review the actionable steps I outlined therein:

  1. Creating Clarity
  2. Fostering Focus
  3. Encouraging Engagement
  4. Promoting Performance

Importantly, you can use the Cycle of Adapting model to work out where to invest your attention to lead or resist change – because both are required at different times.

This is the model we use at nLIVEn to help our clients navigate change. We find it provides a reliable roadmap to help us rapidly orient ourselves and our clients to the change any given client is dealing with.

Make a note of at least one of the practical tools, if not more, from each element, and promise to take the time to implement it into your life and business.

This will form an excellent, healthy set of habits which will help you overcome resistance to change and more naturally adapt to it in a timely, disruption-free fashion.

Great CEOs overcome inertia to change! Don’t neglect the small stuff, and the big stuff will take care of itself.

Empower Yourself When Dealing with Change

Here are some more top tips for dealing with change as it occurs. The great news is that adaptation as a process is within our control to a large extent. This is an extremely empowering fact. We don’t have to wait for adaptation to occur but can play an active role.

Participate in Creating Change – A change you have chosen and set in motion will always be better than one which is forced upon you. Figure out a list of goals and ambitions for the next year, changes which you would like to implement, and figure out how to set them in motion. In this mode, you are actively being a Change Maker.

Subscribe to Reliable Sources of Information – Industry magazines, technology websites and various other reliable sources of information can help you stay up to date with change and in some cases, you may even spot patterns and foresee changes before they occur. This could help you spot a great opportunity, driving new creations, products or ideas for service.

Draw on Team Knowledge – The best source of information is often team members on the front lines. Hold regular meetings with key members of staff and elicit their opinions on the changes on the horizon. You’ll be surprised just how much knowledge team members have related to their roles and responsibilities, and how many can see change coming and have ideas for how to manage and adapt to it.

Relax Regularly – Taking a time out to relax, whether it’s through a massage, playing your favourite sport once a week, or just talking with a knowledgeable friend who can help you keep things in perspective will help you manage the stress associated with rapid change. This will help you accommodate change where it is required. In this mode, you will actively be a Change Taker.

Successful CEOs understand the duality of dealing effectively with change:

  • There are times when we should resist change, preserving the DNA of our organisations and our personal / professional integrity
  • There are other times when we should embrace change, allowing innovation and actively catalyzing creative destructionism

Finding the balance between these two complimentary but competing dynamics depends on both the internal and external environment in which your enterprise is operating.

A simple set it and forget it approach is insufficient to deal with the complexity of wisely developing an organisation over time. To shape a living company, an eco-system, requires a systems thinking and intervening approach.

The good news is that this can be taught – and can be learned, with practice.


Do these things regularly, combined with the practical steps outlined in the previous posts, and you’ll avoid becoming a bottleneck to progress through resisting change.

Change is coming whether you like it or not – be prepared to adapt or perish!


Explore Additional Resources

In this blog post we mentioned the following resources:

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