“Stop the change! I want to get off!” For many of us, change is like a train taking us where we don’t want to go. And like the train rider, we can feel powerless to stop it.
But even in times of change, we have the power. Like the Six Million Dollar Man (“We can make him better than he was. Better, stronger, faster”), we can emerge from change better than we were before.
But we must make a choice:
We can choose to be a victim of change, or we can choose to make the best of change.
Even if changes are being made that are outside of our control, we can still avoid the temptation to feel powerless. If we realize that we are responsible and that we are accountable, then we can be powerful.
Being responsible means accepting responsibility for how we respond to the change that is impacting us. Just because we interpret a particular change as negative does not mean we have to respond negatively. How can I continue to give my best effort? and How can I help my teammates to give their best effort? are two good questions to ask as part of a positive response.
Being accountable means to take ownership of the results we produce as we adapt to change. It’s up to us to produce results that reflect our best efforts. If we produce less than our best, we don’t blame anyone but ourselves.
How does this make us powerful? When we accept responsibility for our response to change and when we choose to be accountable for the results we produce, then we have the power to make the results even better.
If we see ourselves as the victim of changes that “someone else” forced on us, then “someone else” is responsible for the results I produce. And if “someone else” is to be blamed if I don’t produce positive results, then “someone else” has all the power and I have none.
But if I am responsible for my reaction to change and accountable for the results I produce, then I am powerful because it is up to me (not my boss, not other people, not circumstances, not fate) to perform even better and to produce even better results.
Next time we will test drive the validity of this “proverb” by examining one of Jesus’ most well-known parables.