Living nearly 100 years during the pivotal turn of the century and into 1950, Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw witnessed quite a bit - Groundbreaking inventions, world wars, and even a pandemic as dreadful as COVID. One of his more famous quotes is a testament to the transformations that unfolded in his lifetime and is as resonant today as it was when he wrote it.
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
This strikes us on an individual level as well as professional, as we navigate the astronomical change that has been a constant since March of 2020. In a time when simply staying afloat may have seemed sufficient, it’s truly been those of us who have responded to adversity and adapted who have experienced dramatic growth.
We’re not just or necessarily talking about business growth—though that is surely a result that’s on the horizon—but more a fundamental growth that has shaken up everything we thought we knew. A willingness to modify our beliefs, to be vulnerable, to be open to failure—to change our minds—has created the capacity to change not just anything, but everything.
In the workplace, that means a lot of things. Most importantly, perhaps, is its effect on culture. A rigid mentality; a resistance to act on imminent change signals to our people that we’re not open to learning. But, in this period in particular, our ability to thrive hinges on not just our acceptance of change, but an outright enthusiasm for it. A healthy culture is one that welcomes change and knowledge building—in norms, processes, strategies—and is comfortable being uncomfortable for a time.
Chip Conley, influential entrepreneur, author, and speaker calls this a “growth versus a fixed mindset.” You can watch his video “Don't Prove Yourself, Improve Yourself” to get a broader understanding of what he means. And, from there, take a moment to reflect on the ways you’ve adapted over the past year and also on the ways you’ve remained inflexible that have left you stuck—and what you can do in the future to be more resilient.