Often times when people think of change it’s this monumental shifts or moments that will forever impact the way we think, act or live. I think it’s safe to say that COVID-19 has made us change a lot of how we view life, how we work, and how we interact with others. But the reality is: change is always happening, everywhere around us.

Think about your organization: Every year you elect new leaders. Every year people move in and out of the organization. Every year some things stay the same, some things change. All of these changes impact our organizations and yet we look at them as just part of our process.

So that begs the question: How can we view and approach change so that even when faced with a global pandemic, it doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating? How can we ensure our members embrace change? Think of change this way – do me a favor real quick – cross your arms (kinda like when you cross your arms in a meeting you don’t want to be in) – ok, now uncross your arms – and re-cross them the other way.

How does that feel? Pretty weird and little uncomfortable right? Turns out you did the exact same thing, just a little different. That’s all change is. How we view change needs to change.

What if I told you that there is a key to understand change and prepare better for it? Moreover, what if I told you there was a way to unlock your potential and see change as an opportunity for success in everything you do? I believe there is a failsafe way to progress through stages of self-discovery to tap into a change, shifting it to better understand our learning process. Allow me to illustrate the concept of The Wheel of Change (cue game show music if you like).

The Wheel of Change
concept by: Dan Faill & Dr. Kate Steiner

When I first thought about the concept of how to better understand change, something “clicked” – I believe there is a cycle, or wheel, that continues to roll with change (sorry not sorry for that pun). Let’s start the wheel with the concept of Vulnerability
•    Thanks to the work of researchers like Dr. Brené Brown, vulnerability is no longer viewed as a weakness but rather a courageous step in connecting with others.

Wheel of Change image

•    Vulnerability unlocks the ability to be creative. We best tap into our creativity when we’re not “busy”, but rather when we let our mind wander and begin to wonder.

Passion (Innovation)
•    Creativity ignites passion. That spark of creativity lights the fire of passion for innovative thoughts and ideas, and the desire to do something about it.

•    When we invite passion, we invite failure. Passion pursuits are about the journey, and these paths include points of failure. You will try things you are more passionate about. And you will fail at some of them. The point is that you tried at all.

•    Each failure is actually the process of learning. While it may feel like a setback each time, when you look at the overall path you can see how far you have actually traveled.

Learning unlocks Vulnerability (completing the wheel / unlocking all the cycles of change)
•    When people try new things rarely do they get it perfect the first time. Learning something new takes practice and that practice can be a continual lesson in being vulnerable.

•    Central to this process is the importance of psychological safety. Studies have shown that psychological safety promotes creative thought, moderate risk taking, and sharing of opinions. This occurs when people have supportive and trusting relationships.

Too often we stop our journey before we start. We make up excuses on why we shouldn’t try a new way of doing something. We look at our list of events and just do the same thing as last year because we don’t want to take the risk to try something different. Or worse, we have ideas for improving events and meetings, but we’re afraid others won’t support us or we fail in the long run. In short, we get stuck somewhere along the wheel.

Organizations, while grounded in traditional operating patterns, have continued to thrive because we do not settle for what was always done. We adapt, we change, and we shift how we operate to move with the changing landscape. As leaders in your organization, the question for you is: Are you willing to unlock your potential through failing? Are you willing to embrace the Wheel of Change?


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