This morning I was listening to Gary Keller’s podcast Think like a CEO, and he told a story that was striking.
Keller described a period during the early stages of the growth of his company where he was experiencing some challenges, and hired a consultant to help solve the issues. That consultant did a personality inventory on Keller and various members of the organization. When they met to review the findings, the consultant had drawn an organizational chart with all the individuals’ names, and coded by circling their names either in black or in red.
He told Gary …everybody that I’ve circled in black, you should be good with. The circles of red, I think you’re at risk – I don’t think those are the right relationship match for you.
Keller described his surprise, and how he had been thinking that there must be something wrong with him, and that he would need to change who he was in order to move forward. He didn’t use this particular word, yet the tone of his description of the challenges suggested that he was feeling stuck.
And we all know that stuck feels terrible.
Keller reflected on his big a-ha from the process with the consultant:
I don’t need to change me, the odds of changing me are about a zillion to one. I needed to find people -more people- that liked me for who I was, identified with the way I approached things, and got a kick out of working with me.
The paradox of change
Google the word change and you will find it defined as: the act or instance of making or becoming different.
The paradox about change is that everyone CAN change. It’s completely possible. And yet hardly anybody DOES change. People don’t usually become different. Even though they can.
Yes, there are exceptions – some experiences may fundamentally impact us such as: war, natural disasters, sudden death of a person close to us – anything that turns our expectations about life upside-down, usually in a very abrupt way.
In general though, we don’t change.
So who among us is sitting around waiting for that to happen?
Either with ourselves or with someone near to us?
There’s a difference between growth and change
While change is the act or instance of making or becoming different, growth is the process of increasing in amount, value, or importance. We can all grow, and hopefully most of us do. We learn things over the course of our lives and we increase our impact, both on ourselves and the world around us.
As the years go by, we tend to lean more and more deeply into our already-established values and practices, even as we may mellow out about the urgency things things, at least as we ease into middle age and beyond.
But do not confuse growth and change. Because even as we grow, we are growing in a direction that is utterly specific to who we are already.
Not everyone is right for you
Have you ever experienced a relationship that was dissonant? Without judgement of the other person, you know that you simply didn’t click with how they approached things, or vice-versa?
The lesson I learned today from Gary Keller is that those experiences are real and impact our lives. And that it’s okay to not click with everyone. And if you are building a business, you’d be well advised to make sure that you and your people identify with each other in certain critical ways, such as values, beliefs and approach to life.