Thriving or Dying Through Change
Posted by Orrin Woodward on May 9, 2012
All improvement, by necessity, requires change. For if a person never changes anything, nothing will ever improve. Interestingly, although everyone knows this intellectually and accepts it as a fact of life, most people still resist change. Why? Having been in a people business for nearly 19 years now, I have a couple of points for people to ponder.
First, recognize the truth in the statement that techniques may change, but principles never do. For example, the team community has been built upon character, community, and leadership from the day it was formed. In 19 years of business, this has never changed. However, the techniques utilized by the community to communicate the message of character, community, and leadership will constantly change since society and the team continue to grow and change.
Second, equilibrium ought to be sought from the resolutions/principles within a person, not the external circumstances experienced. In my life, the 13 Resolutions (covered in my book RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE) are non-negotiable core principles that won’t change regardless of how much external change swirls around me. Peace, in other words, must be sought on the inside, not on the outside. Those taking the Mental Fitness Challenge will quickly realize that the internal achievements precede the external achievements, which precede the leadership achievements and legacy. These principles have stood the test of time.
Third, looking back on my life, some of the biggest blessings that I have are things that I resisted at first. Why? Because I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I have learned to trust God and his plan for my life, even when I don’t understand it.
The movie Karate Kid demonstrated a beautiful example of trust. When the wise Mr. Miyagi told Danny to wax his car, Danny was incredulous at first. Even so, he waxed the car because he wanted to learn Karate so badly that he was willing to do what he didn’t want to do in order to be able to do what he did want to do. Danny began with the end in mind, knowing that by learning Karate, he could defend himself from the bullies. Here is the dialogue between the mentor and student:
Miyagi: First, wash all car. Then wax. Wax on …
Daniel: Hey, why do I have to? …
Miyagi: Ah, ah! Remember deal! No questions!
Daniel: Yeah, but …
[makes circular gestures with each hand]
Miyagi: Wax on, right hand. Wax off, left hand. Wax on, wax off.
At first, through lack of trust, Daniel thought he was being taken advantage of, but in truth, Miyagi was teaching him the basic skills of Karate and improving his hand coordination and muscle strength. However, the most important principles Daniel learned from Miyagi through this process were earned trust and self-discipline. In other words, Daniel’s mentor had proven himself by displaying character and results over his lifetime, so Daniel didn’t have to understand the why to do the how. He trusted Miyagi had a plan even though he couldn’t see how the end result would be achieved through the beginning actions. In truth, he didn’t need to because Miyagi did!
It’s called “Speed of Trust” in the business world. Indeed, an organization’s health and vitality directly correlate to this “Speed of Trust” within it. It’s similar to a principle I teach called “slow to go fast.” A team, in other words, cannot run together until it has learned to walk together. Unless the team has trust (a combination of character and competence), there is no point in attempting to execute plans to achieve objectives, since everyone will question everything. In contrast, when trust is high, changes can occur quickly because the organization knows the character and competence of its leaders in the given field of operation.
Trust, then, is a two-way street. If the leadership team has exhibited character and competence over time, then trust and execution constitute the reciprocity given by a thankful team. Daniel, in the end, reciprocated to Mr. Miyagi because he knew he could trust his mentor to lead him to the results he desired. Admittedly, in today’s pragmatic world, where character-based leadership is on the decline, it’s hard to trust; however, the two ways to ensure failure are to trust no one or to trust everyone. Trust must be earned!
Chris Brady, Tim Marks, Claude Hamilton, Bill Lewis, George Guzzardo, and Dan Hawkins have earned my trust by displaying character and competence over time. We have all learned from the 13 Resolutions in our own lives; that is why we developed the Mental Fitness Challenge to share with others. Have you earned “Speed of Trust” leadership with others?