Sometime in the past week I was in a meeting and someone talked about achieving results. The person mentioned that big change does not happen all at once, rather change and results happen over time in small increments. The older I get, the more I know that this is completely true. If you want to achieve something, it is going to take time, hard decisions, discipline and work – and, it probably wil not happen overnight.
When I was a younger person, I would have listened to that person in the meeting and maybe nodded my head, but inside I would have disagreed. Change can come fast and you just need to push hard right? Wrong. You can get fast change but so often that change does not last. Let me tell you two quick stories.
1) Once upon a time there was a man who in his thirties who one day looked into the mirror and realized that he was 30 lbs overweight. Did that weigh gain happen in one day? No, it happened over a few years day by day. The slow creep of weight gain snuck up on him and it did not hit him until one day it did. So one day he decided to make a change and start tracking all his calories and seeing what he was eating on a daily basis. Over time he set a goal and started to work towards that goal, day by day, month by month. Over time the weight came off. But it took six months. There were ups and downs but in the end that man was able to stay within his target weight for over two years. Change that lasts, and results that last, happen slowly over time.
2) Once upon a time there was a young eager leader who was working with a group of students in an organization and wanted to bring about fast change. The group of students he worked with were part of an organization that was slowly declining in influence over time and were averse to change. We always have done things a certain way, was their rallying cry. They were stuck. This young eager leader implemented some change and radically changed some of what these students were used to doing on a day to day and weekly basis. Change happened amidst grumbling but some results were achieved. The young eager leader thought he was successful in bringing change and results. Fast forward to that leader leaving that organization and then hearing the minute he left things started to change back to the way they were. The change reversed! The group went back to doing the same things they had always done. Results achieved? Change happens? Maybe in the short term, but for lasting change and results there is no such thing as quick and easy.
You may have guessed by now both of those stories are from my own personal journey. As I look to be someone who makes things better wherever I am as a leader, I know that I need to work hard each day in the details to bring about lasting change and achieve results, you need to do it day to day. Then one day you will look and the change and results you want to have happen will be there – and they will last.