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When Change is Progress

October 17, 2017

A few weeks ago, I ran into a senior leader of a large organization, and he was telling me about the current state of their business. One of the things he mentioned was the overarching emphasis on change. He shared that every conversation within their organization centered around how the world is changing, how technology is evolving rapidly, and how the next generation of employees are different.

He agreed that the world is, indeed, changing quickly, and I feel the same way. In every kind of organization and industry today, we’re are confronted by change.

Technology companies are scrambling to push out new projects, so they won’t be irrelevant.

Churches are changing their service styles and programs to attract and retain a younger audience.

Nonprofit organizations are developing new strategies to find and cultivate young donors.

Marketing teams are constantly rebranding their organizations to stay ahead of the trends of our shifting culture.

Businesses of all sizes are adjusting policies to attract a new generation of workers.

Change is coming, and it is coming quickly. The question for you and me is: how will we respond?

Will we respond with such a large focus on change that we forget to ensure that the changes we are making are positive ones?

In response to the conversation at their company, this senior leader encouraged his colleagues to think about change differently. He told them, “We keep talking about change, but we really need to be talking about progress. We must remember that all progress is change, but not all change is progress.”

Wow. How true is that?

Yes, the world is changing quickly, and to remain competitive, you must adapt. But be careful to audit the changes you’re making.

Change is not a bad thing, but we also shouldn’t slip into the thinking that any change is good.  We need a relentless focus on the types of change that make us better, not just the types of change that make us different.

Politicians are often elected on a platform of change, and then deliver change that isn’t always helpful to their constituents.

Don’t fall into the trap of only focusing on change. Focus on progress.

When you do, you’ll incite meaningful change that benefits people and promotes innovation in a changing world.   


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