Taking Out the Trash

Apr 24, 2020


I received an electric grill as a gift. Though riddled with guilt, I gave it away! Find out why and what I learned about leading through change.

Have you ever seen an overflowing trash bin? Perhaps at a park or in, um, someone else’s kitchen? It happens slowly, just one item at a time. But, eventually, even huge dumpsters get full. We tend to find more trash when we switch offices or move to a new location. Some things get tossed out, recycled, or given away. Some things are rediscovered, reused, or cherished. As we respond to constant change, we are engaged in a subtle invitation to reconsider which experiences we want to leave behind, habits we want to refine, and goals we want to pursue.

I once received a George Foreman Grill as a gift from my uncle. At the time, I had a gorgeous deck overlooking a golf course and an eight-burner natural gas-fired BBQ. Though I was riddled with guilt, I ultimately gave away my gift. (Sorry, Uncle Jay!) Years later, I found myself trapped inside, enduring the second week of sub-zero temperatures, and wanting a small electric indoor grill! You know what? I bought another George Foreman Grill! I have tossed out, recycled, and given away many things, yet, that was something (for some reason that still embarrasses me) I couldn’t live without.

This got me thinking. What about our current environment needs to:

  1. Tossed Out? Certain things are pulled from us and others we decide to discard. What is it that really doesn’t belong? A negative mindset, an employee, a bad habit? Dig deep! It is not only about what needs to go, but why it hasn’t already gone. Unspoken fear and well-worn routines can lure us into inaction.
  2. Refined? Some things just need a little tweaking to really serve our business or our families. Again, change is hard to accept and sometimes, even harder to initiate. What is it that really needs restored or refreshed? Yes, it is easier to just put up with something that isn’t quite right, but a thoughtful leader considers the overall process for change and acts courageously and compassionately.
  3. Created? Strangely, this might the easiest response to change! Often the whole team (or family) is already off-balance, so establishing something new generates excitement and much needed momentum. Don’t worry if things aren’t exactly how you imagine them, it still takes time to start fresh behaviors and traditions. …And, it better be fun and/or worth it for the organization.

Ultimately, we must be intentional and determined about our response to change. As leaders, we shape the attitudes associated with tossing out the invalid, refining the established, and creating the original. With leadership comes ownership of experiences, habits, and goals. We get to hit the reset button, as needed. If absolutely necessary, you can still get a George Foreman Grill. Against my better judgment, I would entertain your “best offer” on my gently used GFG. I could trade up; they now come in red! (Sorry, Uncle Jay…)

by Michelle Sugerman • Leading Synergies, LLC • © All Rights Reserved

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