Adapting, Advancing, Accelerating

January 9, 2017 § 2 Comments

“Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

The above quote is one of my favourites, wisdom I’ve shared with others many times.

I’ve recently found myself practising what I preach with a new job at the City of Grande Prairie. I became the Manager of Intergovernmental Affairs on Oct. 17, through a small restructuring. This new position involves focusing on advocacy, strategic planning and, as the title would indicate, relationships with other municipalities and levels of government.

Up until then, my entire 34-year career had been concentrated entirely on communications, from newspaper reporting to corporate writing and editing, operating a consultancy, along with communications co-ordinator and manager roles.

There’s certainly a significant learning curve that goes with this position, relatively new in Alberta municipalities. Some duties are tasks that I would have done off the side of my desk in the past are now essential elements of my new position. Others involve skill building and opportunities for training.

My focus is more on City Council-related activities and priorities and our Corporate Leadership Team’s strategic directions. I now report to the City Manager rather than being part of a service area. I move from managing a team to having functional leadership responsibilities.

I was asked to take on this new role in a Sept. 8 meeting. Ironically, this discussion occurred immediately after a City of Grande Prairie Leadership Network Meeting where Leadership Coach Alan Goff presented on the 4 Rs to Remarkable Results.

He underlined that  … “What got you HERE, won’t get you THERE.”

This is a reminder that we can’t stop learning, making changes, adapting to the evolving environment around us and being visionaries who will foresee changing circumstances.

Moving to a newly developed position within your organization has its challenges. It’s not like picking up and leaving to a job at another employer. There is personal transition and an extended period of passing the torch.

I’ve always considered myself somewhat of a mercenary – doing whatever is asked of me to complete a project, often with competing priorities. That was certainly the case when I operated my own business. I was routinely working around the needs and expectations of up to four clients daily to make things happen.

Reminding myself of this experience and that I had also pioneered the first communications officer position at the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board certainly helped me to adapt. So did this quote from Ekaterina Walter, a recognized business and marketing thought leader.

“In the midst of change we often discover wings we never knew we had.”

Here are some highlights of Goff’s 4 Rs to Remarkable Results.

  1. Face Reality – Take responsibility for your results and those of your team.
  1. Relinquish what is in your way.
  1. Rely on the process – stay positive and avoid the ‘crabs in the barrel’.
  1. Reform to a better way – Change small, but often.

I follow the work of Tony Robbins and am fond of using his quip, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”

I just discovered another piece of wisdom from this American businessman, author, and philanthropist: Change is automatic. Progress is not. Progress is the result of conscious thought, decision, and action.”

These lessons are great advice as we embrace new challenges and changes in 2017.


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