“When can we start the big project?” I asked Rita.
After buying our “fixer-upper,” we prioritized the home improvement plans. The first year was devoted to remodeling the downstairs. We like the challenge and this one was significant.
But I could hardly wait to get started on the landscape. Overgrown shrubs were yanked out by the roots. We ripped out rotten railroad ties. We had an ideal location for the next Koi pond, our fourth water feature created over the years. And fittingly, it promised to be the biggest and best.
I had a vision for this one and sketched the design on a letter size sheet of plain paper. It began with a 15’ winding stream, which dropped over a 5’ waterfall. The splashing water produced mesmerizing displays and soothing music. The central pond was approximately 15’ wide by 23’ long and 2-3’ deep. It was to be my masterpiece.
One Saturday, construction was interrupted by a summer rain. The stone retainer wall had been dry-stacked. It was looking really good. But on that Saturday, I could only sit and think. That’s when I thought: “What if we incorporated stone steps in the wall? How cool would that be?”
In 1995, Harvard Business School professor, Clayton Christensen introduced the idea of disruptive innovation. When unexpected improvements to a product or service are made, he identified it as disruptive to the market. Disruptive companies see a need, meet the need by taking a risk, and create something new.
What about a new you?
Now, let’s shift the discussion to your leadership development. Leadership development is about engaging in a process of change to expand personal influence. It’s disruptive to the “new norm,” the thinking and behaviors that got you here.
This journey from “here” to “there” involves travel through three zones on the road to future success:
First, the Comfort Zone – this is where the journey begins sooner or later. Life is comfortable but not exciting. Work is easy, not challenging. Fear-based thinking about leaving supports acceptance of status quo behavior, status quo performance, and a non-threatening life.
“The comfort zone is a behavioral state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk.” (Wikipedia)
Detainees of a Comfort Zone feel stuck or frustrated, personally or professionally. Pain can disrupt the false contentment. So can a vision of the future or the promise of greater significance.
Change is required to achieve future success.
Second, the Safety Zone – aware of your potential and possibilities you see the risk (of change) but go for it. For example, a micro-manager considers the upside of delegating.
Third, the Growth Zone – where you exercise your ability and willingness to learn and change. Personal disruption changes the course of your career and contribution. Barriers to progress are defeated. Obstacles are overcome. Unproductive behavior is replaced. You experience a breakthrough.
Creating space for reflection
Our landscape project was disrupted by the rain which created space to see even greater possibilities. Without the interruption, I would have missed the opportunity to add to our already amazing landscape project. Because of the delay, we built steps into the retainer wall. Now, it not only looks cool, but it added access to the tiered flower beds.
And yes, I could have (may have) grumbled about the rain ruining my plans and progress.
So, what about your Story?
- Which zone are you in at the start 2016?
- What needs to happen to move forward?
- Where do you face an obstacle or delay to your plans?
- How might you rethink it and to see if it as an opportunity to make a change in plans?
Here’s to your next level in 2016,