Make Change Happen? Blend Momentum with Agility

If you’re on a mission to make an outsized difference, you’ve signed up for an exciting journey. And also a challenging one.

It’s exciting because you’re doing something worthwhile, something with purpose, something that’s going to really make a dent in the universe.

And it’s challenging because you’ll come up against inertia. Including those people who haven’t quite yet signed up to the mission you’re on. And those people who have a vested interest in keeping things the way they are.

When a moving object comes up against an opposing force, its ability to keep moving depends on two things: 1) it’s momentum – the amount of forward motion and 2) it’s agility – how easily it can adapt to changing circumstances. The more momentum you have, the more likely you’ll directly overcome obstacles. And the more agility you have, the more likely you’ll find ways around them.

It’s like surfing a wave. When you’ve got momentum, you can tap the energy of the wave. Without it, you’ll be engulfed by it. When you’re agile, rather than rigid, you can quickly adapt your approach to what the conditions are doing, rather than come afoul of them. All the while keeping your end game in mind – to keep on moving and enjoying the ride.

I’ve noticed that the most effective change makers work hard to cultivate both momentum and agility. It’s a discipline they stick to, not a one-off event. Here are two practices that I see effective change makers weave into their daily lives (and great leaders empower their people to do too):

1. Conviction

2. Experimentation

1. Conviction

Both momentum and agility stem from tapping into a deeper, more innate force. Some call it purpose, I call it conviction. It’s is your higher, driving force. It’s why you’re doing what you’re doing. It gives meaning to your decisions and actions. When you have conviction, your inner generator fires up. And the world benefits. The leader who deeply believes that their job is about empowering people to do the best work of their lives will create way more impact than the one who is still working that out. The more committed you are to a worthwhile conviction, the more momentum you’ll have, and the more you’ll find ways to adapt to achieve it.

2. Experimentation

Experiments are about progress. But it’s not necessarily linear progress. It’s more of a ‘if I try this, I think this will happen, let’s see’ approach. When you experiment, you’re deliberately letting go of a need to nail something. You’re adopting a more open, curious mindset where the focus is on learning. My friend and mentor Matt Church often uses the framing ‘let me try this idea on with you and let’s see what happens’. It’s great, because it takes the frame of good / bad / right / wrong out of the equation, and allows us to lighten up, learn and keep moving together.

Got you thinking? There’s a lot more to explore. Here are a few more ideas for you to play with:

For more on cultivating conviction, check out:

For more on experimentation, delve into:

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