Change Management Training Step 7: Operate at the 4th Level of Change

Create White Space, Then INNOVATE

The kind of growth we’re looking for here often comes from stopping more than speeding up. You can only accelerate your learning and development so much by simply doing the same old things faster. Sooner or later you must start doing different things.

Quitting plays a key role in the process of rapid growth. You’ll need to break some familiar rhythms, actually unlearn things and find more effective performance strategies.

What this comes down to is destabilizing yourself, and doing it on purpose. We’re not talking about a minor tweaking of the way you typically do things either. Fast growth occurs through transformation. It’s more like a metamorphosis, a major shift that enables you to move to a higher plain of performance. This is breakthrough behavior, and it’s based on abandoning old approaches.

Don’t let this spook you. You’ve done it many times before. Like when you stopped crawling and started walking. Think back. You didn’t crawl so fast that you came up off all fours and began walking. It wasn’t a matter of raw speed and momentum that put you on your feet. And when you went from wading to swimming . . . that didn’t occur because you managed to wade water so quickly. You made the shift to swimming by giving up on wading and engaging new moves.

When you stopped crawling and wading, you created some white space for yourself. Some real growing room. And you filled that space with purposeful experimentation. You knew what you wanted, and took new risks. You were innovative. You were an adventurer, an explorer, you found new potential within yourself.

Give yourself permission to play with life that way again.

Start by stopping. Actually, this is probably the hardest part of all. Giving up old habits and thought patterns—the unlearning—is tough for people to do. But old approaches get in the way of trying out new methods. You can’t crawl and walk at the same time. You can’t keep wading if you want to swim. Something has to give.

The second step in the breakthrough process is experimentation. Tryouts. And the big requirement here is a willingness to fail. Mistakes guide you toward your goal, and you won’t get far without making them. These bumps and bruises are very educational. They belong in the process.

Fast growth will feel like it did when you were learning to ride a bike. Remember? You got banged up a little. You came out of it with scrapes and scratches. But you mastered the bike, and the huge grin on your face offered proof that you’d made another breakthrough.

Shoot for fast growth, and give yourself a chance to grin like that again.

"We make ourselves up as we go."  —Kate Green