Managing the Tension between Change and Consistency

There are two kinds of families: the ones that eat store-bought cookies, and the ones that stick to homemade cookies. My family, both the one I grew up with and the one I have now, falls decidedly in the homemade cookie category with one notable exception…OREOS!

We love Oreos. I love Oreos – double-stuff, mega-stuff, all of the stuff! I would eat them on a plane, on a train, and in the rain. I like them on their own, dipped in milk, and definitely in my homemade ice cream. Forget the green eggs and ham. I love Oreos, Sam I Am!

I also thrive on change, which means the parade of differently flavored Oreos over the last couple of years has been right up my alley. I’ve tried almost all of them – candy corn

oreos

Oreos, mocha Oreos, s’more Oreos, marshmallow krispy Oreos, peppermint Oreos, and more. I played the Mystery Oreo game (those were gross!). I even tried the recently released cherry cola Oreos – probs not the best idea you’ve had, Nabisco, but, let’s definitely talk about making the key lime Oreos a regular deal! (I know, you’re wondering how I’m not 500 pounds with all of this Oreo eating – Answer: I’m raising boys. If I’m lucky I get to eat one or two cookies out of a pack before they are all gone.)

Change is good. It can be fun, and it definitely creates momentum. But too much change can be confusing. There’s something to be said for consistency and constancy. We all want to know what and who we can count on.

To borrow another Andy Stanley-ism, we have to know which things are problems to solve and which are tensions to manage. I believe change and consistency represent a tension to manage. We need both – the new and the same, the willingness to try different things and the wisdom to keep going down the same road even when it gets bumpy.

Part of managing the tension is knowing which way you lean naturally.

As mentioned, I lean toward change, which means I need people in my life and guardrails in place to keep me from changing too readily and too quickly. Once I’m convinced a change is the right call, I’m ready yesterday and eager to move to implementation. I’ve learned through trial and error that those kinds of knee-jerk reactions (especially when you’re in the pilot seat) can create chaos and confusion. I’ve learned to slow down and ask questions like, “If we make this change, what does the timeline need to look like so others are ready and we’re all prepared? What are the potential side effects of this change that we need to mitigate or prepare for? Who needs to know about this change well before it happens?”

If you lean the other direction, toward consistency, you need to have people in your life who are willing to challenge your assumptions and ask questions like, “Is there anything you’re hanging onto for comfort that is actually holding you back? What is the possible gain from making a change that could outweigh the effort of getting there?”

We need both – change and consistency, regular Oreos and double stuff (although for the life of me, I can’t understand why you wouldn’t want more filling!).

Which way do you lean? What questions would you add to help navigate the tension?

 

 

 

 

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One Comment on “Managing the Tension between Change and Consistency

  1. Hi Jenn – I’ve been really enjoying reading your blog posts. I definitely lean toward consistency, but in my career, there have been so many changes that I’ve (somewhat) adapted to the craziness. The only constant is change, right? Hope that you and your family are well, will you be coming to our 15th reunion? – Julie Bevevino Fulesday

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