Jun 09 , 2019
Change The Space In-Between

3 key points to surviving change in a Black-Hole

Look at the universe! What do you see? An order? Tranquility? A divine peace? You fool! You ignorant! Over there, galaxies are colliding, suns are exploding, black holes swallowing stars! Now look at the universe again! What do you see? A disorder? Chaos? Anything savage? You see a hell? Now, you see the truth!”

― Mehmet Murat ildan

After the rush and thrill of launching into the deep unknown of change, very little is said about the space in-between. You know, all the many moments between lift off and reaching your destination. Commitment to change is a non-negotiable for me when it comes to getting on-board with clients; yet many seasoned practitioners shy away from the atmosphere that pervades ones we are locked in and enter the deep space of change.

In my experience, the bigger the change, the more unsettling this limbo can be and if you have watched Event Horizon, a lot of demons can come up for individuals, teams and organisations on the path to transitioning. Most of my clients have admitted that they are reluctant to share the tension and discomfort outright, even at the best of times.

So how do we survive the black holes of change? How do we keep perspective when our minds are sucked into the vortex, wishing we could just turn the ship around and keep play it safe? 

Sticking with the space analogy, let’s consider how space explorers remain committed to exploring the bold unknown of space and stay on course well after the dust of launch has settled and the tense reality of days, weeks, months and even years in the ambiguity of space sinks in.

Here are 3 keys to surviving the black-holes of change:

1. Staying Tethered

No matter what is being done, space explorers stay tethered to the ship. Whether they are inside our side, you will never see an astronaut untethered to the cause, not just because they might run out of oxygen, but worse, they might get lost in the depths and chaos that is space.

So whatever the change might be and your role in it, it’s important to keep perspective and stay tethered to the purpose, goals and outcome, even if things get technical and confusing. It’s okay for unresourceful belief systems and values to come up in the ebbs and flows of change, yet when we bring it back to the why, it’s easier to work with and through it.

2. Using the Window of Time as an Opportunity

Whether it is keeping fit, piloting experiments or working on their mindsets, space travellers are masters at utilising time, tempering the boredom of routine with an opportunity to do things they couldn’t do on earth. It really is about tempering what’s not changing (the routine) with what is changing (being present in the fun, awkwardness of the unknown).

Often change is seen as a waiting game by many, yet for the clients we work with, we choose to see it as an opportunity for pilots, prototypes, creative workshops, frank conversations, growth and continuous learning well before any formal engagement or training takes place. So get creative because it doesn’t need to be boring.

3. Keeping perspective with HQ

Never in the history of space exploration has a vessel entered deep space without some form of communication/feedback with ground control. And the key reason for this is perspective. Being deep, deep inside space or actually within any challenge or project can often result in a loss of perspective so it’s important to check in with earth now and again and get an independent view from a place that is not emotionally invested in the challenge and rather focused on the outcome.

This is where the value of the right change coaching or independent professional can give you the best “outside-in” perspective to complement the inside-out view from your ship window on your change journey.

We love helping clients navigate their way through space because everybody deserves to be among the stars, however that might be defined. Always happy to have a chat about the deep space of change so if this resonates, let’s connect.

Who is Andrew Butow?

As a radical change coach, Andrew brings in design thinking & behavioral science to any organisation challenge. He is passionate about people, insisting that we all deserve a place in the future and radical returns can only be achieved through conscious change.

A passion in working with organisations, leaders, teams and individuals to shift mindset so that they are fully committed and equipped to live out their full potential.

Working with some well known Australian brands such as QBE, AMP, Lend Lease, NewsCorp, Ford, Downer, Komatsu, Coles, Thiess, Asciano, WorleyParsons and Primary Healthcare.

Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn.