Pain is Necessary and Good

Life eventually hardens like arteries unless there’s painful intervention.

Positive statements affirm us. Negative statements change us. Furthermore, compliments and affirmations validate the past and solidify the present. But, crisis, criticism and corrections change us.

Spencer Johnson correctly observes, “Change happens when the pain of holding on becomes greater than the fear of letting go.”

Don’t fix pain-points too soon; making them go away short circuits growth, limits potential, and solidifies the present.

How much is too much? When should organizational frustrations be quickly solved rather than worked through?

Solve now or work through:

  1. Are you willing to courageously state the brutal facts?
  2. Will a long-term approach cause permanent damage?
  3. Are current team members willing to rise to new challenges with training, mentoring, or coaching?
  4. Can you apply new resources to old challenges?
  5. Do current pain-points indicate it’s time to stop? Sometimes success is about stopping; less is more.

Crisis initiates transformation. For example, an economic downturn may unnerve leadership enough to consider tangible innovation.  Pain makes changing trajectory possible.

Learning and change:

Learning requires change. Learning is change. Therefore, learning is central to transformation. You create learning opportunities when you:

  1. Embrace systems thinking – look at your organization as an integrated whole. Innovation emerges when silos integrate.
  2. Honor and reward mastery of new skills and behaviors.
  3. Channel energy toward agreed upon outcomes. Vision motivates learning. Shared vision infuses learning with purpose.
  4. Enhance the team – adding to and developing your team lifts organizations above the limitations of individuals.
  5. Focusing on what not who – stagnant organizations look to the same resources, individuals, and internal structures for innovative ideas. Look for ideas up, down, and outside your organization.

Warning: learning cultures may destabilize internal power structures that frequently maintain the status quo.

How can leaders leverage pain-points?

What are the dangers of allowing pain-points to hang on?