The hardest part of change is to take an action that runs counter to your beliefs, experience or, even more challenging, your basic nature.
Over a broad range of industries facing radical transformation such as the print and broadcast media sector and healthcare, the pressure on executives who are dealing with this type of change is intense. The toll it exacts on leaders who struggle to adapt is sweeping and intense, from their workday to their personal lives.
I have come to understand, based on hundreds of interviews with senior executives, that there is a mental struggle in the minds of those who are dealing with this transformative change, especially those who are in the midst of a job transition which occurred because of a corporate realignment or their own performance failings. Most understand, intellectually at least, the impact these economic and structural changes have had on their career.
In some cases however, transformative change becomes the self-serving excuse for an unwillingness to adapt. They know what happened but they struggle with taking the steps necessary to overcome this conflict. They have been told repeatedly how they must approach managing their career. They admit that this advice makes sense but they cannot pull the trigger on change.
They are constrained based by their life’s experience and, in many cases, their basic nature.
Resisting change — arguing against adapting to current job market conditions — only reaffirms a personal professional brand image that they are not ready for prime time. That does not mean they lack the experience or skills to succeed because most do, they just cannot cross that tough but necessary threshold.
Most people I have interviewed have the ability to overcome this career disruption and to them I say, get a coach. Find someone who can help you develop the tools to conquer this career barrier. You just have to decide whether you can tolerate — or afford — being trapped by this mental barrier.
What seems like Mount Everest may actually be a much smaller hill.