When Effecting Change Affects Change

Nov. 12, 2020
The entire country is at an inflection point right now with how we effect change going forward.  Will we be a nation that places people ahead of profits or will we be a nation that places profits ahead of people? 

I was at a workforce conference last year when I learned about Change Intelligence (or CQ). In the same family as Emotional Intelligence (or EQ), CQ is that set of skills that allow you to lead your teams through changes affecting your organization. 

Researcher, author, PhD, keynote speaker, and consultant Dr. Barbara Trautlein is an expert on leading change. She was the keynote at the conference and it was during her presentation that I learned my own CQ Leadership style: I'm a "hands" person. In the simplest terms, being a "hands" leader means I'm process-oriented. I crave efficiency and the ability to review a task list before we all roll up our sleeves and get to work. A "head" person leads from a strategic mindset and is very purpose-oriented. A "heart" person leads from a place of compassion and empathy. Though I'm as empathetic as the day is long, "hands" just barely won out over "head." (You can read more about Change Intelligence and Dr. Trautlein here

My EQ of my CQ is what rears its head when I'm watching the news, in particular about the most recent Presidential Election. My brain hyper-invests in the process behind things like vote-counting and transition teams. I like to break things down on paper or in spreadsheets, see how everything works, then figure out how to put everything back together again in an even more efficient and orderly fashion. To be honest, if it weren't for reconstructive jaw surgery in my teens, I probably would've become an engineer instead of a storyteller. 

Watching the big ticket and big picture parts our world right now has me entranced. As a nation, we're about to undergo a monumental change. No matter what happens with the White House, it's safe to say that change has not only arrived at our collective doorstep, it's about ready to knock on the door. Seeing things unfold right now feels like that part in a dramatic thriller where you can hear the music start to play and the surroundings get a little bit darker. Everything feels heightened and you're trying to figure out if you should cover both eyes or one.

There's a sizable part of our country that has cast their votes to change things one way. There are also people who voted to change things another way. The process for how we are arriving at the change we're about to undergo, however, seems to be hampering how we move forward together.

What does this have to do with work, or specifically the food and beverage industry? My fellow Food Processing teammate Pan wrote a lot this month about the food and beverage labor force. In one writing, he ponders what might happen if we don't change the way we treat the people who work on our production lines. Pan is totally spot-on when he reminds us: We are at an inflection point. 

An inflection point, for those who aren't familiar with the term, is the point—or usually event—that changes the trajectory of things to come. The entire country is at an inflection point right now with how we effect change going forward.  Will we be a nation that places people ahead of profits or will we be a nation that places profits ahead of people? I have my thoughts on the matter; however, my leadership at the present moment is confined to how I lead my to-do list (and even that feels out of my control at times). 

As we wait to find out the fate of our ever-changing world, what are ways that you lead through change? Are you the engineer-type that breaks things down to a process? Are you more of an empathetic people-person who concerns yourself with the team? Or are you the head that's looking from a 30,000 foot view? Let me know, maybe I'll change things up and do a reader submitted blog post some time soon.