Doing Different

May 06, 2015 | Mary Higgins | permalink

If you knew that an up-and-coming technology or manufacturing practice would enhance life for many people, while putting others out of a job, would you help it? Or fight it?

Innovation has long divided people into warring tribes. On one side, a camp with pitchfork wielding activists, who decry the changes because of the suffering wrought thereby; on another, those who gleefully ring out the bells for its hopeful prospect. It seems no wonder then, that the word “revolution” stands for both change and war in people’s minds.

Change is by nature difficult. It is without exception both creative and destructive. You simply cannot create one thing without destroying another. Something or someone will always pay the price for change.

That price is something I’ve had increasingly present on my mind as I’ve moved forward with creating and releasing BC Pie—the framework for which I have thrown in my chips as the bright future of Business Catalyst web design and development. Regarding the potential outcomes in my own life, I can’t help but see both the grand possibilities, as well as the almost certain financial turmoil if it otherwise fails.

And yet I’ve moved forward, working to convince the Business Catalyst community of its merits on their behalf, all the while uncertain who else might pay the price if adoption succeeds.

In the short-term, there is usually a loser with big changes, especially for those who have spent time and money entrenching themselves in the old ways, or who may have even been the innovation leaders for those ways.

So how do you decide to proceed without knowing how things will turn out? Better yet, why should we go forward, knowing that going forward may cause suffering?

There will be suffering. Anytime we learn something new, we experience a degree of suffering. Anytime we work to break old habits and dependencies, we experience it all the more.

Perhaps the best question is: why suffer at all?

Because there is something better.

Gary Hamel, popular business author and speaker, said:

A noble purpose inspires sacrifice, stimulates innovation and encourages perseverance.

For me, the countless hours building this framework, along with the potential failure and loss, are worth the risk—because I see something better, and I want it. I’m inspired by the possibilities, and I want to reach for a positive change in my own life and the lives of others.

Of course, if I were the only one to convince, my job would be easy. But inviting and inspiring others to come along for the ride is its own challenge, requiring more than code savvy and perseverance—it requires leadership. And that’s another skill altogether.

It seems to me that half the battle in leadership is convincing people that you have something better. The other half is convincing them that they want it. You can lead a horse to water, you know?

But a voice speaks to me, perhaps calling me from the corn field: If you build it, they will come. And I realize that the best way to attract ball players is to build them a ballpark.

So here I am, off my soapbox and stuck in my code; building something to inspire us to play ball.