I am sure you've experienced this before.
It was perhaps a very ordinary day.
A perfectly usual moment in time.
A decision made in passing, nearly by accident.
And yet, something monumental happened.
The world shifted. And looking back, you can trace it all to that very moment.
For me, the last time it happened was on October 29th, 2019.
In between intense meetings and packing for yet another trans-Atlantic flight, I wrote a quick email and hit sent.
And a new profession was born.
9 people decided to join our very first, pilot Certified Practitioner Program.
There were no pre-recordings. No clear structure. Not even a webpage.
Only blind trust that together we'll allow the art and science of reinvention to emerge - and commitment to fight against the urge for quick fixes, easy answers, and template solutions.
Together, we've developed new tools. Started new projects. Went through incredible personal and professional losses. Recorded many wins.
Together, in a symbolic twist of fate, we finished final projects and graduated as one unit amid COVID-19.
So, as a way to celebrate and honor this amazing tribe of pioneers, I want to share 3 lessons I learned as we walked the unknown terrain and conquered new lands of uncertainty, volatility, and rapid change:
Lesson #1: Change is NOT a project
As the new COVID-19 reality continues to crack our world open, I keep seeing these posts and articles on how life will be "when this is over" and "the world will open back up."
We still live in the illusion that this a temporary project - with a clear start and finish, with linear progression, and clear manageable boundaries.
This thinking is very understandable: for decades, if not centuries, we lived in a relatively predictable world where major disruptions would happen once in a generation - and thus had to be managed as a project.
But the times have changed.
Today, change is not a once-in-a-lifetime project, it's a constant process - and can only be embraced and transformed by creating a consistent system of continuous reinvention.
It took the original Fortune 500 list 60 years to nearly disappear. It was projected even before COVID-19 that 50% of all S&P companies will be gone by 2027.
By now, it's clear: make reinvention your habit or see your company and your career perish before your very eyes.
Lesson #2: It's not about the 'what'
For the longest time, all transformation efforts have focused on the particular area or dimension of change. Digital. Ecological. The global economic crisis. AI. Millennials. Pandemic.
It is assumed that each individual transformation is unique - and the answer is in the expertise within a particular area.
But here we are, 10 people (nine newly-minted Certified Reinvention Practitioners and I, the mama bear), coming from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas - living entirely different types of reinventions and succeeding with the exact same set of tools.
Jim's final project was on reinventing a church. Sonia focused on reinventing herself and her own company. Gary took on reinventing HR.
It does not matter what you are reinventing.
Just like the virtuoso musical can play very different music on the exact same instrument, so can we reinvent individuals, organizations, and whole communities around any issue - with exact same frameworks, tools, and skills.
Lesson #3: Reinvention is about change. But more importantly, it's about continuity
A few years ago I was giving a talk on the shortening of cycles and the faster world, similar to this one, to a group of young leaders.
An 18-year-old young man approached me afterwords and asked.
"You spoke about the need to reinvent ourselves every 3.5 years. Does it mean that I need to reinvent my values every few years as well?"
Looking at our Certified Reinvention Practitioner journey coincide with the global COVID-19 journey, it's incredibly clear: change management is important.
But continuity management might just be even more crucial.
Most of the time, we know exactly what needs to be changed, pivoted, paused, or let go altogether.
But what should stay? Remain? Get preserved no matter what?
That is the real power of reinvention.
I can't wait to hear your answer.
Sending you my warmest regards, and HUGE congratulations to the inaugural class of Certified Reinvention Practitioners.
The new profession could not be in better hands.
P.S. There a huge number of opportunities to connect in the near future.
- Join Reinvention Summit Canada - a free, live, online event - which starts next week here>>>
- Participate in my signature online course on Leadership and the Art of Reinvention at Case Western Reserve University here>>>
- Join a free 8-session course we are doing together with faculty from CEDEP, INSEAD, and SOiL here>>>
Or just take a break and rest a bit. Sometimes, it's exactly what we need.
Dr. Nadya Zhexembayeva helps companies such as Coca-Cola, Kohler, and IBM turn change and disruption into an opportunity.
Want to join our amazing reinvention community? Grab one of our free resources and you are in: https://