Chair’s Corner: BOLD Change Management

By Michele Curry, Commerce Bank

Welcome to 2021, Women’s Network! As we usher in 2021, a year with endless possibilities in store, I wanted to discuss change management. Obviously, this subject is overdue because we needed it a year ago. Our personal and professional lives have been rocked by events we were not equipped to deal with. The last year has been incredibly difficult and many of us didn’t have the tools to adapt. I hope to share some wisdom that can help change your outlook for the new year.

I’d like to start with a book recommendation: Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, M.D. If you haven’t read this book already, it begins with the story of two mice in a maze. They live in a cozy section of the maze where they get fed cheese every single day. That is, until the cheese stops coming. After a few days they realize, “the cheese is gone…where is it?! What are we going to do to survive?!”

The first mouse gets very angry. His life has always had cheese! This spot is where the cheese is and suddenly the cheese is gone. “Who moved my cheese?!” He roils over how his life is not as it was before.

The second mouse, on the other hand, accepts his reality. This place has no more cheese. They aren’t going to get any more cheese by staying where they are. So, he ventures out into the maze to find more cheese, leaving the angry mouse behind. He eventually finds more cheese in a different part of the maze while the mouse who refused to change is left with none.

This story demonstrates, in business and in life that in times of great change we can adapt in one of two ways:

  1. Are you going to sit in the past and be angry that things aren’t the way they were? Or,
  2. Can you recognize the reality of your situation (and it can suck! You’re allowed to not feel good about it!), accept the situation for what it is, and move forward so you can get yourself to a better place.

That’s exactly what we’ve had to do in 2020, and honestly, 2021 isn’t going to be much different as we adapt to coming out of a pandemic into a changed version of the world we once knew. We don’t know what the future holds, but by staying here in the shell of what was, doing everything the way we’ve done it before and convincing ourselves that everything is fine just isn’t going to work anymore.

In my efforts to get you to be BOLD in 2021, my message of change management is meant to encourage you to accept where you are, understand where you’re trying to go, and keep the most positive outlook possible because you will find more cheese. At the end of the day, we all know that success is what we’re aiming for, so no matter how uncomfortable or different things are going to be, it’s simply not feasible to stay where you. Don’t let the world move on without you!

We can do this together! I hope you have a wonderful January and a 2021 full of positive change.

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