The one thing that I keep learning as a human on this planet is that change isn’t easy. It’s not fun – at least not at the start. It’s hard work.
One recent change I’ve been struggling with is my new leg brace, pictured at right. I have CMT, a neurologic disease that causes calf atrophy, foot drop, and instability while standing or walking. I’ve suffered from the symptoms for over 20 years. I thought the calf atrophy was due to my two back surgeries over the years, so didn’t think anything of it. It was how I walked.
The brace is a pretty cool little device – custom molded to my foot and leg, carbon fiber so light as a feather. The stiffness of the carbon fiber holds my foot flat and holds it in alignment with the leg and knee. That’s the way skeletal alignment is supposed to work, but with my foot drop, I’ve walked out of alignment for 20 years.
The hard part I’m experiencing is that walking in alignment is causing much hip pain and back pain. Why? Because I’ve grown accustomed to accommodating my leg weakness and foot drop. My current gait is very distinct. I throw my right leg out while walking so my foot falls flat, rather than rolling (like a sprained ankle), causing me to catch myself or fall over.
The brace aligns my foot, calf, and knee as it’s supposed to be aligned. My hip and back aren’t used to that new alignment. Muscles are working differently. And, they’re not happy – nor are the nerve endings.
The leg brace is good for me. It’s safer – I won’t stumble as much. And, the new way of walking hurts my hip and back. So, comfort will take awhile.
Another hard change I’ve observed is one I’m helping a client with. We’re helping an organization shift from a purely economic purpose (“making money”) to a people-centered purpose. Plans, decisions, and actions have not taken people into account. They were driven by dollars and cents.
Bosses were hired and trained to honor the dollar and to virtually ignore their people. Engagement is at an all-time low. Turnover is high – and they’re losing talented players. Customer service is suffering.
A long-time leader was recently promoted to help with the culture change. At a company meeting, he was in casual conversation with some of his direct reports on a break.
At one point, he made a teasing comment about one of his team members in the group. It was mean-spirited. The laughter was subdued.
We gave this leader prompt feedback. He immediately understood that his comment wasn’t appropriate – especially now with the new focus on valuing people. He said, “I’m so used to using humor with these players. I know that comment was over the line.”
“This is going to be hard.”
Change is hard. And, if you’re looking to walk in alignment or act in alignment, those changes will help you embrace more effective ways.
Photo © Chris Edmonds Photography. All rights reserved.
Don’t miss a single video segment in Chris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series or any of his video clips. Subscribe to Chris’ Vimeo channel.
Chris’ new “Culture Leadership Charge” series and the rest of his video clips are also available on YouTube. Subscribe to Chris’ YouTube channel.
The music heard on Chris’ podcasts is from one of his songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). He played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Chris will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, Chris only recommend products or services he uses personally and believes will add value to his readers. Chris is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”