144 – Reimagine Change: Awaken your creative brilliance | Ft. Ciara Lancaster
Ciara Lancaster has made a career of navigating uncomfortable spaces. In a sense, the Change Fatigue and Resilience Specialist has been preparing for a crisis like the one we face for years. Her new book “Reimagine Change,” sharing a title with her consulting firm, speaks to the necessity of new and inspired solutions to the unprecedented challenges of our time. Here, she sits down to discuss the importance of embracing change.
2:05 If You Want Stability, Prepare for Change
Change is inevitable, both in life and in business. Leadership is what determines the fate of organizations during moments of particularly profound change. Understanding this reality, Lancaster expounds on democratizing leadership as a concept. By encouraging team members to think proactively even in comfortable hours, and tangibly rewarding their efforts, leaders can create a continuous engine of adaptation. This is a phenomenon she identifies as “co-creation,” and it ensures the highest level of engagement in your organization.
4:17 Applied Anthropology
Dividing her formative years between a number of diverse cultures gave Lancaster a strong interest in human behavior from an early age. Childhood experiences in Dublin, Texas, as well as Australia led her to an undergraduate program at the University of Sydney. A degree in Psychology and Economics translated into a career in media, where she quickly noticed some fundamental and widespread inefficiencies. Many of these inefficiencies were in the area of talent maintenance and retention, and what she learned in this time shaped her life.
9:26 Change Obliviousness
In Lancaster’s estimation, most organizations operate entirely within the status quo. Their leaders are most often “change oblivious”; their blind spot for potential change greatly limiting their ability to operate through uncertainty. The first type of change obliviousness involves a high level of comfort in a lack of knowledge. The second, and perhaps more dangerous, is what she calls “change bravado”. That’s when a leader believes that old methods will address new issues. Both of these are examples of highly ineffective leadership.
13:48 Status Quo Struggles
Resistance to change is frequently amplified by a perceived potential loss of status. Confidence typically stems from competence, that is, one’s belief in their ability to achieve grows out of their ability to achieve. During moments of profound change, those with higher status may assume that their standing will be negatively impacted. In their limited outlook, change inherently creates winners and losers. Noting that seismic shifts in culture make tricky transitions for all involved, Lancaster highlights that resistance can be a cry for help.
20:43 Growing Pains
For this longtime career coach, there’s no getting around the discomfort of change. What she calls the “growth zone” is the level of discomfort that still leaves you mentally capable of effecting positive change. With the right resources are present people generally rise to the occasion. That includes psychological financial and psychological support. In her words, feeling “resilient, ready, and resourceful” is the antithesis of feeling overwhelmed. We are a species of problem-solvers, and in most cases simply need to be effectively enabled.
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