“I can’t go back to yesterday
because I was a different person then.”
Alice in Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)
Holding on to the way things are or have always been just feeds the status quo.
Striving for better inherently implies that something must change. We struggle to dislocate ourselves from what we are to what we hope to become.
The sequence goes something like this:
- Identify a need or gap
- Set goal for improvement
- Take action
- Measure success
- Reach intended outcome
Now, what happens after reaching the outcome?
Most likely, we sigh with relief, celebrate our success, and settle in. If we are savvy, we continue to monitor the progress we made–the lost weight, the increased sales, the decrease of customer complaints.
But, is that it?
Sustaining change assumes change at some level, has occurred. One question to ask is, did we really change? Or, did we just move the deck chairs enough not to notice the sinking ship?
What a slippery fellow change becomes once we set it in motion. Like stretching out a rubber band—once you let go, it reverts to its original shape. But if you stretch it long enough, the rubber band can never retain its original form.
For change to take hold requires constant stretching, persistent pulling, creating new shapes that make it hard for the organization to return to where it began.
No other path exists.
How do we sustain our goals?
Everyone must adopt a mindset of getting better—that good is not good enough. I have yet to find another way to get there.
That means we must continually assess progress. Try using these four questions to keep the momentum of deep change in motion:
- What are we doing?
- Why are we doing it this way?
- How do we know this works (for each other and our customers)?
- What will we do if it isn’t working?
In the words of Will Rogers . . .
“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
Don’t just sit there. Challenge the status quo every day.
Can you hold the rubber band of excellence taut long enough to keep change the organization?
Be kind. Be brave. Be you.