The Challenge of Change; A Symbiotic Relationship

Back in August 2008, as we began the new school year, I gave a short presentation to our faculty and staff on the challenge of change. The reason for the presentation was during that summer we rolled out a new website and a new campus wide database in one fell swoop.

Going in I knew there would be many challenges associated with such wholesale change on a school campus. Perhaps, however, being the ever optimist that I am, I did not foresee how greatly challenge and change were intertwined.

Since last August I have thought a great deal about how challenge and change are ever present in our lives and I have concluded that these words have a mutually exclusive and symbiotic relationship; one cannot exist without the other.

If you look closely at the words CHANGE and CHALLENGE you will see that CHANGE actually borders CHALLENGE at all times. Without exception, you cannot have challenge without change.


So, you might you ask, how can two words have a symbiotic relationship? I fully believe CHANGE and CHALLENGE share an interdependent and mutually beneficial relationship although that relationship, at best, is strained; filled with conflict, hurdles, and barriers.

So how can one impose change and deal with the challenges that exist?

First, in order for one to move successfully from CHALLENGE to CHANGE one must remove the L.L.E.’s which impede progress:

Lethargic; Those who are indifferent or lazy

Luddites; Those unwilling or incapable of moving forward

…who are…

Entrenched; Those who are stuck in one place

When I say remove, I am not referring to people (although at times that may be necessary) but rather I refer to those ideals that prevent a critical mass from occurring which clearly is necessary for meaningful change in real time.

Conversely, and here is where the symbiosis occurs by the way, one cannot experience a CHALLENGE without CHANGE either. The difference is that you must add a different set of L.L.E.’s back into the equation in order to move past the challenge and be successful in your change initiative. Those L.L.E’s are:



…who are…


So, the next time you are faced with a challenge remember that something; a person, a situation, a time, a place, etc. must change in order for your challenge to subside. But also know that when you have to change there will always be challenge involved in the process.

Comments, as always, are welcome!