Leading Through Change

  • Published
  • By by Lt. Col. Jimmy Sayres
  • Commander, Detachment 1 (45th MSG)

One thing constant throughout history, and can certainly be counted on in today's work, political and economic environments, is "change." Our wing / community is a perfect example of the "change" phenomena last summer, with at least 16 different changes of command in organizations across Patrick AFB and Cape Canaveral AFS.

Added to the normal rotational change involved with the "summer PCS season,"our units and people can also be impacted by process, budget, mission and other organizational changes, not to mention a vast number of personal, family and life changes occurring outside the work environment.

I recently read this quote by Dr. Peter Senge, the former Director of the Center for Organizational Learning at MIT: "People don't resist change. They resist being changed!"
Leaders must help their people navigate changes - both personal and professional. Commanders, supervisors and wingmen must help one another reduce the anxiety involved with change and look ahead to the potential growth that can come from successfully navigating those waters and reaching the other side.

Over the last year, I have seen many changes affect the people I work with. Our unit endured a great deal of instability and change, in areas ranging from manning reorganization, to being physically dislocated from our normal offices for 6 months. My goal has been to help find consistency and stability where I could, while ensuring my team is equipped to keep moving the ball toward the goal line.

It is important to remember, in order to achieve great things, we cannot allow ourselves to be defined by changes in our own personal circumstances. We must understand that change is inevitable, whether we initiate it or not. We have an opportunity to mold some of the changes on our own terms...or to simply allow change to occur and hang on for the ride.

The bottom line for each of us is this: We must define the change where we can, set the vision for our organizations and through it all, help each other reach the personal and professional successes we all strive to achieve.