From Comfort Zones to New Horizons: The Power of Necessary Change

Mike Whalen

When I sat down to write this month’s editorial, I had this witty idea about how bands change overtime. The Dave Matthews band of the 1990s is not the same band you’ll see on tour today; That Journey needed to learn how to be a band without Steve Perry… I wanted to wax poetically about the business practice of change management and quote Ben Franklin. 

The truth is, no matter how you sugar coat it, change is hard. But, sometimes it’s necessary.

It’s hard to quantify how much has changed since the pandemic. One day in March 2020 my manager sent me an email: “There is a flu-like virus going around; everyone needs to stay at home for a few days.” That day was four years ago. Do you remember banging pots and pans together to support essential workers? Do you remember your first Zoom call? Since then, our family has moved so everyone has their own office space. We’ve invested heavily into high speed routers and more reliable fiber internet. And, even after all this time, I seem incapable of mastering the mute button because “I’m still on mute!”

The way we interact with our jobs has fundamentally shifted. Meetings that once took place in bustling conference rooms now occur in the comfort of our pajamas. Water cooler chats have been replaced by instant messages. And, who would have predicted that emojis would become an acceptable form of communication in the business world? For many, this new way of working has blurred the lines between home and work life. But, critically, there is a newfound flexibility for workers. If Henry Ford’s gift to society was the 40-hour work week, our generation’s gift is replacing it with a real work-life balance.

In the midst of these personal and professional changes, our communities have also transformed. Small businesses adapted quickly to survive. The corner coffee shop that once thrived solely on morning commuters now relies on expanded food offerings and branded swag.

Retail stores have fully embraced change with tap-to-pay, on line ordering, curbside pickup and local delivery. Restaurants have been especially creative in finding ways to compete with the resources of large franchises and costs of delivery apps. Some have turned to meal kits and while others have built pergolas and fire pits aligned with Colorado’s outdoor living culture. It’s a testament to our collective resilience and ingenuity.

When I started writing this editorial in 2023, I wanted to share how I was “Going Solo” by starting to work from home and how the business world had changed. But, as I reflect my own evolution, I realize here is a world much larger than the microcosm of my home office. 

So, next issue, we’re going to try something a bit different with this space. Our team will be exploring not just the changing landscape of work environments but also the resilience and creativity that define our community.

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