Leadership Insight #6 - 2022: Getting comfortable with constant change
13 April 2022
Constant change is with us it seems: “The pace of change has increased massively in light of the pandemic. Managing it now requires a strategy akin to white-water rafting.” .
There is no question that being flexible and adaptive are necessary effective leadership skills. This recent article cited above argues we need a ‘change-ready mindset’ – as opposed to our general ‘change-averse’ mindset, and how this mindset shift could support the way we respond to change. The authors argue that there is a generalised assumption that change is temporary rather than constant, supporting the thinking that we can productively ‘brace for a period of change’ and then things will ‘go back to normal’ or that there will be a ‘period of stability’ that has a longer duration than the period of change. We all know that this is not always a useful assumption.
So, what type of mindset around change is useful? The authors argue that a change ready mindset is more effective because it prepares us cognitively and even emotionally for things to be different.
What’s a change ready mindset?
“Being change ready means seeing opportunities rather than threats”
A change ready mindset:
- Uses history and past experience as a guide, not a sure thing.
- Asks questions about what is taking place rather than looking for evidence of an expectation - the way it happened before.
- Looks around at other people and is interested in what are they seeing and thinking about? We can increase our insights and understanding by including input from a range of perspectives.
The authors argue that in general we tend to be resistant to change, and that this type of ‘change resistant’ mindset gets in our way. From a professional development perspective, the take-away here is for you to reflect on your own:
- Assumptions about change.
- Response to change.
- About how becoming more ‘change-ready’ could help you navigate the current environment.
Developing a change-ready mindset has similarities to Carol Dweck’s concept of a ‘growth mindset’ – Which encourages individuals to adopt approaches that allow them to respond to setbacks as opportunities to learn and innovate rather than as a failure or mistake.
What’s important is what this ‘change-ready’ or ‘growth’ mindset perspective means for the next step. A change-ready mindset is more open and prepared for change and helps us to go forward being curious and looking for learning, rather than approaching with a tendency to be corrective or even blameful.
Dr Anna Clark (PhD)
AMAV Leadership development consultant, coach & educator
Dr Anna Clark is AMAVs Leadership consultant, coach and educator, currently offering individual coaching for doctors and directing the AMA’s professional development programs in leadership, the Emerging Leader Program and Middle Leader Program.
Reference & resources
 How to Become More Comfortable with Change – HBR 2021
 Adapting as a core leadership skill - #LI August 2021