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Transformation as a Way of Life


Transformation as a Way of Life

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Lately, it seems that everyone is talking about transformations. Transforming the economy, transforming state government, transforming graduating seniors and even transforming the ways we think about life, health, fear and relationships. When you think about it, transformation seems to be part of why we are here. If we don't transform, we get left behind and, if we do, it is usually a continuous journey with lots of challenges along the way. Maybe it is each of our "lot in life" to transform our business lives, personal relationships, and even the transformation from youth to our golden years. The topic this month is TRANSFORMATION as you may have guessed and I hope this article is read as a positive message.

When I think about transformation and work life and even personal life, I think of the possibilities of learning how to get to the next level of leadership enlightenment. Are most leaders out there in the working world focused on transformation or just encouraging the work or what we call the transactions? I'm not sure what the answer is, but I thought I'd write about the topic of transformation because it resonates with many of our clients’ (and our own) growth and developmental needs. First, here is the definition of transformation:

Trans·for·ma·tion - [trans-fer-mey-shuhn] Noun...
1. The act or process of transforming.
2. The state of being transformed.
3. Change in form, appearance, nature, or character.
4. Theater - a seemingly miraculous change in the appearance of scenery or actors in view of the audience.
5. Logic - also called , one of a set of algebraic formulas used to express the relations between elements, sets, etc., that form parts of a given system.

Change - All of the five definitions of transformation apply to each of us. We are all capable of changing in some way or another (our reactions, feelings, thoughts, etc.) if we think about how positive it is to transform from the negative or thinking that all things must be criticized and scrutinized to becoming that enlightened person who sees the good in learning from mistakes and leading without fear, which represents mostly the transactional work and creates an unbalanced environment.

Enlightenment - In my view, it is another word that could describe transformation. But it is not all about being enlightened to new thoughts and positive changes, it is also about the logic of transforming. One example is making mistakes. When we do not learn from our mistakes, we tend to get stuck in our rut, get criticized a lot by others or people will ignore us all together in both personal and work life. When we learn from our mistakes, most of us do not want to repeat them, so we make a transformation from that event and we usually find a better way to do it right or to be more courteous the next time.

Self-talk - When we do it right the next time, it would be good to take the time to think about the transformation to that particular problem or issue that made it a positive experience. Here are some questions to ask yourself about your transformation through life and work:

  • Am I embarrassed because I made a mistake? If so, why and how can I do it better the next time? If I fess up, will I be able to face my co-workers (or family)? If yes, how will I focus on doing a better job and what kind of help do I need?
  • How can I start a discussion with someone who doesn't seem willing to listen to constructive criticism and constantly shows negative emotions? Do I find a resource that can help me to approach differently, since all other avenues have failed? If so, can I hear whatever message that is given to me so I myself can grow and learn?
  • How do I approach a team's effort that went bad or didn't make its mark? Do I ask for the team's participation and do I need help with facilitation?
  • Am I taking full responsibility for what is going wrong as a leader in my family or work life? If so, what behavior can I change that will help to resolve the issue or problem?

Good Question and Better Words - The concept of asking ourselves questions (and there are many more that can be asked) when changes need to be made helps tremendously because our logic is now coming into play. Sometimes fear plays a key role in keeping us from our potential as transformational leaders because it challenges the status quo in a way that makes most traditional business leaders squirm in their chairs. Words like warm and fuzzy and group-hug jokes are what we hear a lot when leaders are uncomfortable with the word transformation and even enlightenment.

It is a personal journey! The real challenge is how to break the traditional ways of "just do it" in the transactional fashion to balancing it with transformation (people learning, growing, developing, and becoming enlightened leaders in their organizations). What a great working world this would be if more people at all levels in their career knew about the benefits of balancing transformations and is a journey and I hope your journey never ends!

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Lorraine Twombly
Priority Learning



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