I feel like the Lorax. They cut down the magnificent old-growth trees on the floodwall. I live on the south bank of the White River, and the Army Corps of Engineers has been floodproofing my neighborhood for 15 years. The latest iteration of the plan involved the industrial scale de-treeing of the levee. Nobody asked my opinion, and I’m in a stage of resentful mourning.
I recently worked with a team in the midst of a major change. Their company was acquired. Everything is in flux. Questions like “Who will be redundant and let go? and “What will the ‘new normal’ look like?” were frequently posed. In the midst of this uncertainty and chaos, it was Kairos’ role was to help them have a healthy conversation to air their fears and determine a path forward despite the disruption and uncertainty.
Through all of the fears that come with transitions, however, I witnessed a few universal themes play out.
America, I have deep compassion for your pain, and I simultaneously need to tell you, for your own good, at some point you need move through your grief and get back to work.
My 13-year-old son Kael was babysitting my 10-year-old son Zeff last week. Upon my return from an appointment, I asked Kael how it went. “Zeff was pretty good, but he disobeyed me.”
The date was January 1998. I’d been out of school for a mere 8 months and suddenly found myself the leader to a team of 10 individuals. This was a critical heat experience in my career. Heat experiences are those intense moments in a leader’s life when the heat gets turned on. Criteria for a heat experience include…
I’m the Co-Founder and President of Rare Bird, an internet marketing firm. I’ve recently had the opportunity, if you will, to experience a pretty significant sea change in my world, and it allowed me the chance to reflect on how we react to changes of all kinds.
A few months ago, one of my business partners left the company after 18 years. He was the very definition of a key man: with me from the beginning, he was an integral part of the way we ran the business, the success we’ve had, and the decisions we made. When the opportunity to run a family business came up, he discussed it with several trusted advisors and decided to make the leap. From my perspective, it was the right choice, even though it would require huge changes for his entire family — not to mention being incredibly disruptive for Rare Bird.
Seth Godin poses this question in his book, Linchpin. This little book has rocked my world, and has me thinking about leadership, and life in general, in new and exciting ways.
“Leader” is a term I’ve always labeled myself with. In fact my parents love embarrassing me by sharing stories of me playing with the neighborhood kids at age 4. All the kids would come to our house and ask: “Alyssa, what are we going to play today?” I’d develop the agenda and start assigning roles…
We had great intentions when we moved our young and growing family into a tough, inner city neighborhood. We were going to be part of the solution. We invested 10 years of our lives there. And boy do I have some stories.
Here’s the thing. With all the good that we did, something was increasingly missing. It took ten years of living there and three years living other places to figure it out.
As the New Year begins, many of us are filled with hope and excitement about what this next year will bring. That is definitely the case for all of us at Kairos. Last year included quite a bit of change which helped us prepare for where we are today. Seeing as change is one of the core services we provide, it was quite fascinating to watch how we reacted to the changes we went through. Helping organizations respond, adjust & thrive in change is something we do all the time, so you’d assume it would be easier for us, right?
I’m pretty sure I was awake for almost every hour of the first 6 weeks of our oldest daughter’s life. As a brand new parent entering the uncertain and sleep-deprived world of caring for a newborn, I still recall the distinct and visceral feeling of what we call the Neutral Zone. This change plunged us into a transition – the ending of one stage of life and the beginning of another. In between the Ending and the Beginning is the Neutral Zone: a place where one is not quite acclimated and thriving in the new normal and is definitely no longer in the role of the past. Honestly, the Neutral Zone can really stink. But it doesn’t have to.