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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§ 2 Responses to Adapting, Advancing, Accelerating

  • joelo554 says:

    David, Congratulations on your new role, sounds very interesting! I wasn’t clear on what “relinquish what is in the way” meant other than “accept what you can’t change”. – Joel Ornoy

  • Erin Stashko says:

    This blog has substance to it, David! You started the blog with a quote by John Lennon: “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.”

    Throughout your blogs, I’ve noticed a common theme that keeps cropping up – ‘Enjoy the ride in life’, ‘Live in the here and now’, and, gauging from the above quote by Lennon, it goes to show you have a strong belief in focusing on and enjoying all aspects of life, not just on the planning and preparing segments.

    Your job role was a new one, a year ago and you mentioned that it was quite different from your previous 34-year career. I can understand that you want to always ‘strive to learn, make changes, adapt and evolve.’ Those are typical in doing what is required to come out on top in today’s world.

    What really stood out to me was the following that you noted about yourself: ““I’ve always considered myself somewhat of a mercenary – doing whatever is asked of me to complete a project, often with competing priorities.”

    There are many people who do not feel the same way that you do! I believe that your willingness to bend and go that extra mile, doing what is asked – is a trait that makes you stand out above others.

    Recently at a fast food restaurant in my community, I observed a man who stood ahead of me in the lineup; he was placing his order with the employee. The respect he had for her was genuine. He treated her in a kind manner. He made small talk, looked directly at her, smiled as he spoke, and in general – made her feel she was an important person and a valued member of our community. She is! All jobs are equally important.

    Small acts of extending ourselves to make others feel truly valued (the way the customer did) are important in the workplace and in society.

    In your blog, you brought up this quote from Ekaterina Walter:
    “In the midst of change we often discover wings we never knew we had.”
    Certainly, in your new line of work, you spread your wings and flew, in whatever direction your new role took you. Discovering wings you didn’t know you had are fantastic. This is not your first rodeo though; you have alluded to overcoming shyness for your newspaper reporter position in another blog. Wings seem to be able to regenerate when we either need – or want – for them to.

    The 4 R’s to Remarkable Results sound like wise considerations for ‘real life’ situations, as well as pertaining to within a career. I know I will find motivation in the 4 R’s. You also enjoyed Tony Robbin’s quote, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”

    I expect that this quote by Creig Crippen will appeal to you:

    “You are being presented with a choice: evolve or remain. If you choose to remain unchanged, you will be presented with the same challenges, the same routine, the same storms, the same situations, until you learn from them, until you love yourself enough to say “no more”, until you choose change.
    If you choose to evolve, you will connect with the strength within you, you will explore what lies outside the comfort zone, you will awaken to love, you will become, you will be. You have everything you need.
    Choose to evolve. Choose love.”

    I love the above quote because it tells me – it’s ok to change and evolve. In doing so, I will further connect with the strength that lies within me. There will be an awakening after exploration outside of my comfort zone. The quote nicely ties into this one you are fond of, by Tony Robbins:

    “Change is automatic. Progress is not. Progress is the result of conscious thought, decision, and action.”

    This quote (underlined by Jeff Goff, that you spoke of in your blog), offers sage advice: “What got you HERE, won’t get you THERE.”

    The blogs on ‘The Muse and Views’, created by you and Wendy, demonstrate that you enjoy musing and interpreting many different viewpoints; the name of the blog you and Wendy have selected is fitting. I’ve been enjoying this blog site!

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