The more nimble, adaptable, and flexible we are, the more quickly we can move and change. ~John C. Maxwell
For many people stability is a virtue. It is a desirable and sought after state of being. I’m working with several organizations whose employees highly value stability. There is nothing wrong with that. However, I believe that the path to stability has significantly shifted.
Let’s pause for a moment and revisit the definition of stability. Merriam-Webster tells us that stability is the quality, state, or degree of being stable; such as (a) the strength to stand or endure, (b) the property of a body that causes it when disturbed from a condition of equilibrium or steady motion to develop forces or moments that restore the original condition, and (c) resistance to chemical change or to physical disintegration.
This tells me that for many, the idea of stability may likely conjure up images of enduring, restoring the original condition, and resisting change. However, in the 21st Century, it actually demands the exact opposite!
Stability Requires Change
Our current environment is one of rapid change. There is nothing indicating that this pace of change is going to diminish any time soon, if ever. Going forward, the people and organizations that will “endure” or be “stable,” are actually those who are really good at changing.
John Maxwell tells us that, “The more nimble, adaptable, and flexible we are, the more quickly we can move and change. To go forward, we need to move faster. And as leaders, we need to stay ahead, we need to see more than others, and we need to see before others. Because of the pace of change, we need to be flexible.”
This puts leaders in a quandary. Their employees who believe stability is a virtue, actually need to become more flexible, adaptable, and open to change, something they likely don’t really want to do.
Leading to Stability
Maxwell also said, “Adaptability is the positive quality of being able to sense the shift in wind direction and proactively adjust one’s course to take advantage of that wind shift. Leaders, by definition, have followers. Followers need direction. Direction requires decision-making. Decision-making requires consideration of options. And consideration of options involves dealing with uncertainty.”
I don’t believe that the idea of stability should be considered any less valuable as we maneuver through a rapidly changing environment. But I do believe that the path to stability is fraught with uncertainty, adaptability, and flexibility.
For leaders, this may mean that they need to be bold by being far more deliberate and intentional about reminding those they are leading that the end goal hasn’t changed; it is still stability. However, the path to stability has shifted. The journey is going to require grace, from both the leaders and their followers. Grace to be adaptable and flexible along the path to stability. Keep leading with bold grace.