Ready-ing For The Future: Change Is Changing

Contradictory pressures, from the economy, the board, the employees exert themselves on every CEO. These pressures can seem to pull in opposite directions at times and it can be difficult to find the right response, especially for unforeseen problems. We may ask, “Why this, why now? How did I not see this coming?” 

Further, the systems, such as the cultural norms, or the political climate, in which these challenges are embedded, may not seem ready to move or to change.  As a result, we have two difficulties: navigating in the midst of contradictions and preparing for the future. A new orientation called ready-ing can help us reframe these two problems. 

Nature can tell us something about becoming ‘ready’ for change. For example, pioneer species are the first plants to show up in a rocky area. Those early plants break down rocks so that later plant species can put down their roots into the freshly made soil. Pioneer species also die back annually, adding their organic matter to the soil, further supporting growth of other plant species. At each stage in succession, new plant species replace the old ones, often due to changes to the environment made by the preceding species. At some point, the plant community stabilizes, at least to a degree, until the next major change. This process of early pioneer plants preparing the soil for later plants could be considered a form of ready-ing, as the soil is prepared for an entirely new type of species in the forest. 

Nature often mirrors to us what also occurs in other areas of life. For example, what factors made it possible for your company to grow and exist? Was there an ecosystem of marketplace conditions, cultural considerations, ecological need, and political dynamics that created the ‘environment’ your company would have needed to grow in the way it did? 

We can also look at this from the angle of an individual leader. What conditions helped ready you to step into the role of the top executive? 

And now, imagine that you, as a CEO, are being readied for the next incoming change, like the soil being readied for the next layer of growth. Consider nutrients as ‘incoming information’ being added to your ‘soil’ to support your next stage of ‘succession.’ From a place of awareness, you can begin to perceive this incoming information that is readying you to address the contradictory challenges in front of you in a new way. 

The question “why this, why now?” then shifts to something like “now, how am I called to participate with life?” and we are able to stand in the complexity, ready-ing for the future that is incoming, at the intersection of all contradiction.


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