Roll With the Changes
Yesterday I received in my inbox The Design Brief for Winter-Spring 2012, the official newsletter from Williams Architects. Maybe you got it too. It made for good reading, discussing the challenging economic times and how severely they have affected the public sector.
But overall, it had a positive message. Here's a quote that stuck with me:
"Over the last several years many communities have had to make difficult decisions on cost saving measures, including limiting services and reducing personnel. While some prefer to sit tight in this reduced capacity and 'wait out the storm,' hoping for better days, others have been more persistent; using their newfound efficiency as a springboard for future planning."
Many agencies, the newsletter explains, have been moving ahead in a very deliberate way, with a focus on the long term.
Change is hard. Even good changes can be difficult to adjust to, but the hard changes—budget cuts, staffing cuts, economic downturns, wide political swings and the like—are much more difficult to deal with. It's not many people, businesses or organizations that can look a difficult change in the face and persevere. For many of us, the first inclination is to batten down the hatches—to see if we can ride this storm out.
But, as the newsletter from Williams reminds us, changes—even the difficult ones—can also present opportunities. They give us an opportunity to refocus, to learn something about ourselves and the organizations we work for, and to discover what motivates us.
Some people saw the economic tidal wave crashing over them and reacted in fear, contracting into a tight ball to avoid getting hit so hard. Others grabbed their surfboards and rode that thing out—using it as an opportunity to take a step back and take a hard look at their long-term plans and viability over the coming years.
What do you do when things get hard? And what will you do, now that the wave has passed and the waters are settling back down? How full—or empty—is your glass right now?
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