I’m sensing a slightly troubling theme in change practitioners at the moment. In general, most know that courage is a pre-requisite for working in change. But still many baulk. And when you get into why, it transpires that many practitioners see courageous as synonymous with being ballsy, fierce, and loud.
Here’s the rub. It’s not. Because there are many shades of courage.
Change management is no different from any other profession – it benefits from diversity. Successful change practitioners come in many styles and approaches. Some are quiet and reflective, others are diligent with their preparation, others are incisive and action-oriented. Some are loud, and deliberately so – to create change you sometimes need to be a pattern breaker.
But to gain trust, you also need to fit in. You need to be a protean shapeshifter.
And so, courage takes on many forms. When bravery is business as usual, you need to find your own way of being brave. Otherwise, it is just exhausting.
Here are some questions to ponder on and think about your shade of courage:
- What does it mean to be courageous?
- How does big courage differ from micro-moments of courage?
- When have you surprised yourself with your bravery?
- What is it that you do that others think is brave but you just think is common sense and effective partnering?
- Who demonstrates courage on a regular basis in your life? What are their attributes?
A couple of years ago, Daryl Conner ran his Raising Your Game development program in Australia and I was lucky to partake in it. During the program, he reinforced the concept that only when you understand your unique character and presence can you “play your music”. Up until that point, you’re playing someone else – like working at being ballsy, fierce and loud.
When you understand your character and presence well enough, you can have introductory conversations with recruiters, hiring managers, and new stakeholders that you need to influence. It is in those introductory conversations that you can explain how you operate – and display what elements of your character they can expect to see.
And you’ll tell them what shade of courage shows up in your work.
Let’s start the conversation rolling … what does courage mean to you in your practice?