Whether it is making the transition from diapers to the potty, discovering the opposite sex, or receiving the company’s first order, events occur and things change. All that we can be sure of is that the future will be different. We hope for the most part that it will be much better. However, heartache, frustration, and the longing for yesterday commonly occur during these periods. We call these uneasy feelings growing pains. They are natural feelings that need to be openly acknowledged and discussed. Many of the changing circumstances or events can be cerebrally understood and rationalized. However, uneasy feelings can still occur. As quoted throughout this collection, Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion should be remembered and are paraphrased as: “Objects in motion tend to stay in motion, while objects at rest tend to stay at rest” and “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. The message is simple: “There are impacts of change that can be perceived as good or bad. Things will be different, and that is OK and to be expected.”
This issue is so important it is listed as Principle Six: Maintain a Positive Attitude and Embrace Change. One of the fundamental concepts in Principle One: Stay in Business is accepting that to stay in business a company must adapt or die. Essentially, “it’s different now” and tomorrow will be different as well.
Individuals in startup and small companies are much more likely to experience growing pains far more commonly than their counterparts in large, well established companies that continue to do “more of the same”. However, in our recent challenging economic times, many individuals in large companies do not enjoy the same stability as they have experienced in the past. In fact, they may be going through even more stressful situations marked by “shrinking pains” as their business responds to market conditions. Independent of the size of the company, the root cause is change, and as Isaac Newton pointed out, there is a natural resistance to it.
In today’s fast paced environment, it may seem as if change is a new force that we have to reckon with. The quote that immediately comes to mind is that “The only thing constant is change”. To put this issue in perspective, this quotation originated with Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher in 500BCE!
The most notable impacts of growing pains are:
- Changing Attitudes
- Emergence of Rigidity
- The Creation of Silo Thinking
- Frustration with Colleagues
- Employee Departures
Addressing the impacts of growing pains is not a management issue. Instead, it is the responsibility of every employee to understand that their own growing pains and those of their colleagues are natural and need to recognized and addressed. No one can control how others feel, but everyone can help others understand the root causes of those feelings that are most probably caused by change.