Sunday, February 9, 2014

Game Changer

The chancellor sent an email Friday morning announcing his retirement as CEO of the Lone Star College System, effective in August. This comes only months after the board of trustees voted to move to single member districts. Just one of these decisions is a game changer. Both are sending seismic currents through the organization.

I do not know how, but I can safely predict the institution will change as a result of the personalities and philosophies of the new players. There will be change--both in small and in significant ways.

New beginnings are on the horizon; the future is unclear. How will the changes affect those of us who are faithful servants of the educational enterprise? Folks are concerned because we know things will be different--but how different and in what way?

I have gone through other changes similar to the one facing Lone Star College System, and I can attest that all have led to changes in direction and new beginnings. Transitions can be revolutionary or merely small modifications, but all require adjustment and acceptance.

The game changers in my adult life include job changes, marriage, childbirth, divorce, diabetes, menopause, deaths of my parents... the list goes on. I've hit the wall and thought I was stuck in a very dark corner of life until I learned (over and over again) that we have to let go of what no longer serves us in order to change direction and explore new territory.

The same is true in life as it is in organizations. Life takes sharp, unpredictable curves. Truth is, I've never met anyone whose life followed the storyline he or she imagined. For example, I can tell you honestly, my childhood dreams of the future did not become my reality. My life is not the one I envisioned. But, holy moly, it has been one exhilarating ride!

And that may be the trade-off: predictability is exchanged for interesting. So... interesting times are ahead.

Life is about change, and as we shuffle, traipse, ramble, swagger, and race through it, one of the important ways we can navigate is by sharing our experience, our strength, our hope through our stories.

What changes have you faced that became game changers?