I received an interesting phone call upon returning home from Cincinnati last week. It happened to be from a long-time client who has since become a close friend over the years. After some catching up, he light-heartedly asked me about my recent focus on blog articles dealing with change over the past few months. I knew he was jesting as he’s always been a devoted change agent and this was his way of giving me his stamp of approval. Our call soon ended, but my thought process didn’t.
I couldn’t help but assume that others might question my motive for our recent focus on change. I may well have been mistaken in thinking that everyone was aware of the rapid pace of change in our chaotic environment. We see examples of it almost daily in the media. We’re also witnessing an increase in individual and organizational failure resulting for those who simply can’t keep up with the increasing rate of change.
While there are a wide variety of strategies for dealing with constant change, one of the most powerful and productive I’ve ever seen was offered by the educator, author, businessman, and keynote speaker Stephen Covey. You can find it in his best-known book: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. This classic has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide since its first publication in 1989. The audio version became the first non-fiction audio-book in U.S. publishing history to sell more than one million copies.
While the strategy was created a few dozen years ago, it’s as effective today, if not more, than it was at that time. Covey spoke of the necessary and never-ending Upward Spiral to Attaining Success. This strategy certainly applies to both individuals and organizations alike. It consists of three very basic, but critical, elements which must be learned and executed by anyone and everyone seeking success in any aspect of their lives.
Covey suggests that we must Learn, Commit and Do. It’s as simple as that. Let’s examine the three powerful elements which will lead us to the success we seek.
We’ve been doing it all our lives. Sadly, far too many thought it ended with a diploma. Reality reveals that life-long learning is required to simply keep pace with technology advances, constant change and increasing chaos.
In his best-seller The World Is Flat, author Thomas Friedman said: “Never before in the history of the planet have so many — on their own — had the ability to find so much information about so many things and about so many other people!” While that is a true and powerful statement, the question is “Are we doing it?”
It’s not enough to simply learn new information and skills; it’s imperative that we commit to utilizing those resources. Many fall short at this juncture which inevitably leads to their ultimate failure.
This is the third and most critical element of Covey’s message. While commitment is admirable, it means little or nothing unless it leads to execution. If we don’t DO, we FAIL to grow and achieve!
To be successful in today’s challenging world, we must internalize this powerful formula and use it regularly in the pursuit of the success we seek! Moving along the upward spiral requires us to learn, commit and do on increasingly higher planes. We deceive ourselves if we think that any one of these elements alone is sufficient.
Internalize the Upward Spiral today and enjoy the success and satisfaction it will provide for the rest of your life as you will certainly be prepared to deal with the change that lies ahead!