Change is Inevitable; Progress is a Choice

Introduction: We have all heard the refrains: ‘The only constant is change’, and Darwin’s famous, ‘Survival does not go to the strongest, fastest, or smartest, but to those most adaptable to change’. The statements are mostly true but do not make the challenges posed by change any easier for individuals, groups or organizations. Much research suggests that individuals who maintain a positive, optimistic outlook (‘see the glass as half full’); manage stress effectively (i.e. are not consumed by frequent worry or fear); and are flexible in the face of changing conditions, lead healthier, happier and longer lives. Put differently, hardening of the arteries may determine how long you live; hardening of the attitudes determines how well you live! More recent research in such areas as positive psychology, resilience, stress reduction, peak performance, and centenarians (those living past age 100) provide important new insights into how we cannot only survive but actually thrive while coping with change. Tony Robbins has observed that “change is inevitable”, that is, it will happen to us physically, to our families, our organizations, the economy, our nation, etc. “But progress is choice”, inferring that improvement (to our health, relationships, careers, etc.) is not a given and must be worked at through helpful habits, an “opportunity mind-set” (as opposed to an “obstacle mind-set”), and compelling goals that are truly motivating. Adapting to change is continuous, and the better we get at it, the better our lives will be. Fortunately, there are best practices for us as individuals and for our organizations. This program will review some key concepts related to change, and some best practices to help us adapt and make progress.

Presentation Description: This inter-active two-hour session includes: A brief overview of change and how the pace and scope have increased dramatically over the past twenty years, even in industries known to ‘change slowly’; reflection on our own experiences with change that went well and not well, noting factors that made change more likely to succeed; reviewing a ‘Top 10 List’ of helpful ideas on change, such as the key difference between ‘transition vs. change’, factors to help us live to be 100, keeping a positive attitude at work, what is personal ‘resilience’, strategies to reduce stress, simple best practices from organizations implementing change, etc.; viewing a few short YouTubes on factors related to change; discussing in small groups up-coming changes and the implications for individuals, groups, and the School; and last, action planning both individually and in mixed groups on current/future changes to ensure they go well and there is “progress” that comes along with the change.

Learning Outcomes: Participants in this two-hour workshop will:

  1. Reflect personally on their experiences with change
  2. Learn a number of key concepts related to change, both from research and practice
  3. Discuss current/expected changes occurring at the School
  4. Action plan individually and in groups so as to prepare effectively for these changes