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Cheers to the Agents of Change

Small or massive, change is as draining as it is invigorating. I have been reflecting on this dichotomy recently as I navigated the change in where I “hang my shingle,” as they say in the legal world. The transition has subjected me to alternating waves of great hope and mind-numbing laboriousness, often in rapid succession.

During this life-changing event, I tried to take a step back and reflect on what change must be like for my clients and connections. I spend my days facilitating change in companies and for individuals. Whether it is the hiring or firing of an employee or the purchase or sale of a ten-store dealership group, the constant is change. I often am involved in significant change with my clients where the future goals are large or the failure risk is high. These sorts of situations consume energy at high levels for all the players involved. I had understood this at one level before I made my change, but have come to a new appreciation of what is really involved in these situations.

I have also come to realize that the type of energy in change situations is different than that needed to maintain a routine or pattern. This makes intuitive sense, as the energy needed to evaluate new and changing facts and circumstances differs from that needed to maintain; even if the maintenance is highly chaotic or dynamic, it is known.

Another difference for people initiating or subject to change is that, more often than not, working through change requires people to do more than they normally would or to do different tasks to get through the change. If you are leading the change, you will be more responsible to others and likely not be able to delegate as you are able to during “normal” or “routine” times. Part of what makes routine possible is often that you can let things run on their own or delegate to a trusted individual or service provider who can do the work. Change, on the other hand, requires your attention and participation.

I have started to observe change instigators and people who thrive in change environments and have found that while all of the individuals have energy, the energy can take many different forms. Some people become manic or enter into an almost permanent OCD state. Others become process oriented or focus only on the big picture and leave details to others. Variations of change agent are as numerous as personality types, but the one constant with those who are successful in ongoing change scenarios is that they embrace the change and seem to thrive on change.

Certainly, many companies and individuals who do not embrace change are capable of competently executing a change when it is thrust upon them. However, even though they may excel in the moment and create above average results, they approach change as an unwelcome burden. These people are wiped out after the process and will often make proclamations that they never want to do that again. This is a stark contrast to those who thrive on change and are already talking about the next change or deal even while the current deal is just coming to a close.

To come full circle on my thoughts about change and the disruption it can cause, as I start to work to normalize my life after self-inflicted change I want to acknowledge to all those involved with changes (sought after or forced upon) a new appreciation for the effort, energy, and focus required to successfully engage in change events.

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Disclaimer: The information in this blog post is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Stephen Dietrich, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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About the Author: Stephen Dietrich is an attorney and author who has a passionate interest in the human side of business. His distinctive combination of legal and business knowledge, human insight, and dedication to clients makes him uniquely qualified to help corporate leaders and other C-level executives navigate high-value mergers and acquisitions, restructure transactions, and manage day-to-day operations. Through this blog, Stephen shares his extensive experience and unique personal and professional insights in the hope of stirring thought and dialogue that leads to ever deepening insights and understanding. For more information, please visit www.StephenDietrich.com.

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