Adaptability is a pandemic buzzword in many offices. We are told that the most important – if not the most important – leadership skill is adaptability. Good news folks. By this standard, we are all leaders. I don’t know a soul that hasn’t twisted and twisted over the past two years to take on an avalanche of new and increasingly bizarre challenges. And it’s not just you and me trying to navigate quicksand. The people we love, the places we work and the communities we live in are also adapting to rapidly changing realities.
All this relentless uncertainty and constant learning can tire even the strongest person. Regardless of our openness to new ideas or our courage, it is difficult not to tremble, even if only a little, at the end of a long day where we wonder what the world will ask of us. tomorrow.
I was talking with a friend about the tension between the very real need to adjust and the fatigue and anxiety that comes with constant change. She said, âI always thought I was adaptable. I like the change. But over the past year or so, I’ve realized that I only like the right change.
Good change. The phrase reminded me of Congressman John Lewis’s famous call to get in “good trouble.” In a 2020 speech commemorating Bloody Sunday, Congressman Lewis told us to –
“Have hope, be optimistic. Our fight is not the fight of a day, of a week, of a month or of a year, it is the fight of a lifetime. Never have, never afraid to make noise and get in trouble, necessary trouble. ”
The ability to adapt to changes imposed on us is important. If all we do is survive – bend with the winds of change without breaking – we can and should be proud. There are days when I consider it a victory to have survived intact.
But there are also times when we have the capacity to do more than endure. In these moments, we take a step back from the details that so often dictate day-to-day survival and look at the big picture. We move from reaction to innovation and creation. It is from this perspective that we can use crisis and uncertainty to actively unlearn the âold wayâ and make the right changes that are needed.
Good change nourishes our souls and transforms our organizations and communities for the better. I believe it means something as simple as making new connections in our daily lives that help our families and communities thrive and help manage or support large institutional and systemic changes. It is asking questions about what can be: what new technology do we need to adopt? What new languages ââdo we need to learn? What new approaches do we need to take to be the people and organizations we want to become?
Is it any wonder that we like the idea of ââa good change? It is hopeful, inspiring and innovative. But it’s also a very difficult job to do in the midst of a pandemic and all the uncertainty that comes with it. There are few – if any – people who can maintain the kind of daring, vulnerability, optimism and energy it takes to effect good and necessary change day in and day out. Instead, it seems like we’re moving between the role of adaptation and creation, survival and rise. With that in mind, and whatever role you see yourself in today, have hope and be optimistic. You are the leader we need.
About our guest writer:
Jennifer Seltzer Stitt
Director of Community Relations, Salt Lake Community College
Jennifer Seltzer Stitt is Director of Community Relations at Salt Lake Community College. She works to strengthen the role of the College within our community and facilitates support for a variety of college initiatives. Throughout her career, she has worked with nonprofits, government, and the community to create systems change and give people the platform and tools they need to be successful. Jennifer received her BA from the University of Miami and her MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. When she’s not working, you’ll find Jennifer at local festivals, farmer’s markets, and baseball games with her husband and two energetic boys.
This press release was produced by the salt lake room. The opinions expressed are those of the author.