Transformation and Continuity

I often work with  organizations and leaders that are either deep into organizational transformation or just on the threshold of it. And in my own work, some significant changes are in motion. Almost daily, I’m reminded of the change axiom that “radical transformation requires equally radical continuity.”

If you’re in the throws of transformation, either organizationally or personally, it can feel quite challenging. And, if you pay attention to the core of stability, it may give you more energy for the change.

In this note, I’ll share a bit about how attention to continuity is helping me ride the waves of my own transformation. Perhaps it will shed some light on your situation if you’re experiencing either personal or organizational change.

Here's my experience. Like many leaders, I felt something wasn’t quite connecting. The full power of my Self wasn’t there in my work. I've recently participated in a series of “Presence Based Coaching” retreats with Doug Silsbee as well as a couple of meditation retreats with Seton Cove, some powerful somatic work, and a workshop on leveraging organizational polarities.

As you may have guessed from that list, I've been immersed in an intense season of personal and professional transformation!

At one point, I found myself wondering, “Why now?” Why was all this turbulence/transformation coming right now? One key element seems to be because “radical transformation requires equally radical continuity.” My life has a level of deep stability that I’m only now beginning to fully appreciate. Here are a couple of aspects of that deep stability.

The new piece that popped in my mind first is my marriage. When Gary and I married (2010), that commitment went all the way to my core. It created a bedrock of continuity that I count on. Loving and being loved, belonging, trusting - it’s all part of our deep and profound commitment.

The second piece isn’t new, but I’m more conscious about it now than I once was. That is the awareness of the constancy of my “true self.” At my core, I’m a generous and loving person and I deeply value integrity and service. Those commitments are also bedrock for me.

With my awareness of those “to the core” aspects of stability, I’ve found an energy and freedom for transformation that I haven’t experienced in years. I feel in my bones the truth of the interdependence of transformation and continuity. The transformation is still turbulent and sometimes crazy-making but this awareness orients me and helps me move through the turbulence. By emphasizing the continuity in my life, I strengthen my capacity for transformation.

If you’re working with either a personal or an organizational transformation, you might find these reflection questions helpful.

  • What are your “to the core” commitments?
  • How might you highlight those to fuel your transformation?

I’d love to hear from you!