Marathon wisdom for change agents and leaders

Monday, January 29, 2024

Primary Blog/Marathon wisdom for change agents and leaders

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Marathon wisdom for change agents and leaders

If you would like to listen to / watch a short crisp 1 minute version of this blog, here's the YouTube link.

If you would like to listen to / watch the full episode with Mangesh Shinde, here's the YouTube link.

Learn continually - there’s always “one more thing” to learn! >> Steve Jobs

When I hopped on to a conversation with Mangesh Shinde about his Marathoner journey at Perspectives of Change, there were so many threads getting created in my brain.

As leaders, managers and change agents, we can learn so much from Mangesh’s marathoner journey.

I am outlining a few key learnings here (in no particular order below). I see these as key ingredients of success that we can learn from marathoners. I am sure there are more. This should be a good start.

1) Be passionate about your endeavour

Passion is a driving force that unleashes our individual potential and moves us towards achievement, no matter which domain, industry, field or role.

Being driven by passion makes every challenge look like an opportunity, fuels your progress, and keeps you committed on this journey. Every small win fuels a greater sense of purpose and commitment.

2) Visualise your success

Visualising success is a powerful exercise that bridges the gap between aspiration and achievement.

In my conversation with Bindi Basan at Perspectives of Change, she shared her visual of the Elite performing teams she built. She brought in the analogy of dancing where 80 or more dancers on stage from different walks of life, different experiences get together to deliver a phenomenal experience to the audience. That’s how she visualised her Elite performing team to be! What a beautiful visualisation! She delivered to her visualisation for sure! ❤️

Here’s the link to listen in / watch Bindi’s story of “Building Elite Performance teams that outperform”

When you close your eyes and imagine success, you create your roadmap that aligns your thoughts, emotions, and actions towards a specific outcome.

Picture yourself beyond that finish line! 

Picture yourself successfully delivering that change program!

It’s that very visual that boosts your confidence and enables you to navigate challenges with resilience.

3) Be adaptable

Change is the only constant. Continuously adapting in this fast-changing landscape and cultivating a mindset that allows you to do so, is key.

Leaders and change agents need to enable organisations to adapt to a changing environment while still maintaining the vision and values of the organisation. For them to be able to do this, they themselves need to demonstrate this adaptable mindset (or Growth mindset as it is perhaps popularly known as).

Just like marathoners, leaders and change agents need to build this mindset in themselves. In one of my talks at the Agile Online Summit (2021 I think) where I spoke about the adaptive leader, I had shared several aspects about this mindset.

An adaptable mindset has several advantages. It allows you to

1. navigate uncertainty and complexity with curiosity, experimentation and learning (inspect and adapt) at every step

2. actively reduce uncertainty and not fear it

3. challenge the status quo and actively look to enable themselves and their teams to find the best way forward through challenges

4. know that you could make mistakes like everyone else, learn from them, adjust and create that environment for others too

5. question your own beliefs

6. think beyond your own biases and pre-conceived notions and bring in multiple perspectives as needed
7. respond and not react to change and enable others to do the same

An adaptable mindset is not just a learnable skill, it’s also a strategic advantage.

​4) Be inspired by others journeys. Remember that your journey is unique to you.

​Every human is unique in their perspectives, attitudes, emotions, responses, behaviours. Every individual and team’s journey is a narrative shaped by their own achievements, setbacks, experiments and learning.

It is valuable to be inspired by other’s achievements and journeys, but it is extremely important to remind yourself that your journey is unique to how you unfold it. 

5) Inspect, adapt and continuously learn from your own experiments.

This encapsulates the essence of the adaptable mindset. Inspecting the outcomes of your endeavours gives valuable insights into what’s working and what’s not. This allows you to then come up with options that you could choose to run as experiments and then learning from the experiments and feeding that back into the insights.

As we say in the context of modern lean change - change is a continuous dance between exploration and action. The faster you go through the loop of exploration and action, the faster you learn.

This iterative approach of experimenting, inspecting, adapting and continuously learning, fosters resilience. With every learning it prepares you to keep your options open and moves you forward.

6) Be consistent

Being consistent is key. When actions are consistently aligned with goals, they forge a path towards progress and success.

Consistency provides a rhythm that builds habits over time. It is all about the commitment to show up, persistently and reliably every single day, even if all odds are against it.

When leaders demonstrate consistency, it triggers confidence in team members and builds trust as they can rely on those leaders to act with integrity.

7) See the Holistic picture and not just an isolated piece

It is of utmost importance to see the broader context and the interconnectedness in any context and not just focus on one isolated piece.

For marathoners, a holistic approach to mental well-being, exercise, nutrition, rest, recovery and other lifestyle choices are some of the elements that contribute to their success. This enables them to optimise their training, enhance overall performance and sustain their passion.

For leaders, embracing a holistic picture would mean looking inward into the organisation with their individual and team decisions and actions and organisation culture and looking outward towards their and other industry landscapes. With a holistic view leaders are equipped to inspire shared sense of purpose in their teams and bring alignment between individual aspirations and organisations objectives.

In conclusion, let’s carry forward the marathoner’s mindset. The road ahead may have its peaks and valleys. But with this marathoner’s mindset leaders and change agents are equipped to navigate change, lead with purpose and cross the finish line of success.

Monday, January 29, 2024

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Hi, I am Sarika Kharbanda

Change Facilitator and Change Hacker

I enable teams and organisations to breakdown Resistance barriers, build Organisational Change Muscle and strengthen Team Dynamics so that they can be resilient and thrive in fast-paced change.

I achieve this through training, coaching & facilitation of Modern change management, remote ways of working, Management 3.0 and business agility.