For most of us, especially those that have been a part of this industry for any length of time, there is a universal understanding that the only constant is change. We continuously face changes of every shape and size, both in our personal and professional lives, impacting the way we live, work, and think. And while some are more profound than others, it’s not always the magnitude of the change that creates the greatest angst or concern—but the way we deal with it.
If you were to take a snapshot of your life today and compare it to ten years ago, it’s hard to grasp just how much has transformed. From the everyday adjustments to our lives, the evolution of the world around us, and the growth and maturity of our professional lifecycle, we learn to deal with the ups and downs of change and move forward the best way we can.
Unfortunately, we’ve also been faced with more profound changes over the past several years, dramatically impacting the way we operate, the interactions we have with our customers, and our overall approach to the business in general. These types of changes require all of us to react and respond with a greater sense of urgency to keep our stores productive and our customers and employees safe. Creativity and innovation must be held at a premium in these situations to find viable, realistic solutions.
As individuals we all enjoy growth and opportunity and work through obstacles and challenges. Professionally, we navigate similar celebrations and setbacks. And in those moments when we’re faced with significant changes, whether it’s a new job, a new promotion, a new company, a new boss, a new city, a new career, or a new approach to what we do, it’s important that we see it as just another step.
So why is this important? Because no matter what we do, it’s never going to stop. Recognizing the need for a new or different perspective is what gets us through life’s challenges and ultimately determines whether those changes become a step forward or a step back. We’re constantly modifying what we think we want, the way we look at the world around us, and the way we live our lives. How we react to change and the way we use new situations and new information to define the way we face the opportunities of the day will help determine how we approach the prospects that tomorrow may bring—and whether our decisions will lead us forward or hold us back.
As leaders, it’s critically important that we not only consider these issues on a personal level, but also from a more global perspective. How do these issues impact our company? How do they impact our teams? What about the customers? What steps can we take to make this evolution take place as smoothly as possible and have the most positive impact for all concerned? How can we help our team members work their way through the many modifications that must be made along the way? What more can we do to spark innovation and creativity to approach the multitude of changes that we deal with on a regular and consistent basis?
Change can make your heart beat faster. Anyone that says that they are not in some way anxious about change, life-altering or otherwise, is either a liar—or a fool. But change is how we grow. It helps define who you are as a leader. Perhaps not surprisingly, the most significant and important solutions we find are typically made when we need them the most.
So, the next time you are faced with the latest wrinkle in your life, whether it is a challenge at work, a life-altering event, or a line on your face, remember that it’s just another step. We’re introducing something new and different and evaluating how it will impact who we are and what we do. The sooner we are able to embrace the inevitability of change and accept the most positive and productive ways to move forward, the greater the opportunity to ensure the most acceptable outcome.