How to Embrace Change

How to Embrace Change

This morning I was invited to give a talk via Skype to a class at The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management in Dubai on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. A good friend who is a professor there asked me to talk to the class about real world applications of innovation and design thinking. As I prepared my talk last week I kept coming back to the idea of change and how critical it is for there to be true innovation.

Over the past two years since launching Metalmark Partners I have had to learn to embrace change on an almost daily basis.
Going out on my own with a business partner, after over 20 years working inside various companies, was the most dramatic change I have made in my professional life.
When I took that leap two years ago I had no idea that it would essentially change almost every aspect of my life.
Change is, by definition, “the act or instance of doing or becoming different.”

We need Change But Cling to What We Know
I thought about the past two years for myself as well as the branding and design clients we have worked with, and realized that as much as we know we need to change and do things differently, it can be stressful and very hard.
Intellectually we know how important it is to stay relevant and adapt and change our business practices. We know that we must constantly be innovating our ideas, product and ourselves so that we are not left behind. Yet it is human nature to cling to what we know and are familiar with. This is that love/hate relationship that I believe exists with change.

Unfortunately we all know friends and businesses that just cannot get past that fear of change.
-They keep doing the same thing over and over even though the results keep getting worse.
-Their fear prevents them from embracing innovative thinking and cripples them as individuals and businesses.
-Eventually they are left behind in this even faster paced world.
Some might call this age-ism, but for me it’s not about your age, but more about your willingness to stay relevant

Your State of Mind
That has nothing to do with your age, it’s a state of mind.
As I prepared for my talk this morning I thought back on my own relationship with change and innovation.

Learning How to Embrace Change and Innovation
When I was in school there was no class offered on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. For so many of us this was a skill that had to be learned as we made our way through our careers. For those of us lucky enough to work for companies that embraced change and rewarded that type of thinking, these skills were picked up and fine tuned over the years.
We learned that as hard as it is to propose and facilitate change, both personally and professionally it is the only way we grow.
By constantly looking for ways to do things different and better, we push ourselves and our business to seek innovation and change.
In my new life I am fortunate enough to work with different brands and people and help them to navigate this tension — this love/hate with change and innovation. 

Fear of the Unknown
I am always mindful that no matter how many times we have been in a situation where we have had to change there is always a little bit of fear, apprehension of the unknown.
It is my job to help them navigate this tension so we get to a place that enables them to grow and realize their dreams.I feel fortunate and honored to be in this role.

Richard Degnan

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