We are continuing our conversation on Core Values at Work, and this week we talk about the Core Values Change and Curiosity.
Bruce Lee thought change was very important: “To change with change is the changeless state.”
Bruce’s idea of “Be water,” is about adapting to change because life is always different. Change is a constant on big or small levels.
Shannon included the core value of Change for the Bruce Lee Family Company because over the years the company has gone through a lot of changes. Change has been challenging at times, but for a small company like ours change is necessary.
Embrace change. Be open to change. Learn to love change. Change is inevitable. Don’t get paralyzed in the face of change. Be open to pivots, goal shifts, reframes, change of strategy. This is a living organism in constant process.
It can be difficult to think of your company as a changing, living organism because change can spark the fears of “Am I going to lose my job?” “Will I be replaced?” “Will I lose my stability?”
Company changes can be caused by more than just the company’s internal structure. Society, culture, politics, and even the environment can all cause a company to go through change.
For the Bruce Lee Family Company, we had to deal with change almost immediately after opening our doors. Shannon had finally acquired the Bruce Lee licensing rights back from the studios and officially opened up shop with a few employees when the 2008 recession hit. Shannon gave her employees the options to leave and look for another job or to stay and take a pay cut and ride through the recession together. She was very fortunate that all of her employees decided to stay with the Bruce Lee Family Company.
The Bruce Lee Family Company is a close-knit company. Shannon works with her friends and family, many of whom have been with the company since the beginning. When Shannon brought in her friend Sharon to work at the company, there were some challenges with the existing employees. They were used to things being a certain way and were uncomfortable with the changes Sharon wanted to implement.
Sharon is a change-agent and a person of action. She likes to experiment and get things done. Sharon is brought into companies to reinvent, re-launch, create something new, and disrupt the routine. When Sharon first joined the Bruce Lee Company, she wanted to try new things to propel the company forward and it was very turbulent at first with the existing company members. Shannon led the Bruce Lee Family Company through the changes and the company has grown together.
Like her father Bruce Lee, Shannon loves change and thrives on new experiences. Since Bruce Lee was constantly innovating, flowing, and changing, Shannon thought it would be obvious that the Bruce Lee Family Company would function the same way. There was a disconnect between Shannon’s expectation of change and what her employees expected, so she had a company meeting to clarify that change and innovation are a integral part of the Bruce Lee Family Company.
The Bruce Lee Family Company is a company based on the values, work, and innovation of Bruce Lee, and Shannon wants the whole company to embody those values. Bruce Lee was a clear example of his own values at work and that is extensively documented in his writings and in all he accomplished.
Shannon’s Core Values at Work are her interpretation of her father’s core materials. Everyone can do this. You have to take Bruce Lee’s core principles and customize them for your life. You are co-creating with Bruce Lee’s philosophy.
When people say they hate change, it is more that they are afraid of losing their illusion of stability. If you learn to love change and learn to love that process, then you remain stable at all times because your stability is within yourself. You can ride the waves of life and navigate the ups and downs as they come.
You have the most control when you realize that you do not have any control.
Much of our fear about change is worrying about the past and the future, which brings us out of the present moment. If we stay in the present, then change can be invigorating.
Change in business can be scary because it is connected to your financial stability. For Shannon, change can be hard as the leader of the company since it can require her having to let a team member go. By living her core values at work and outside of work, Shannon finds that if she communicates well, communicates kindly, and communicates the changes happening, these difficult situations are easier to navigate. Shannon has found that by working on her core values in and out of work she is growing as a human being.
Businesses have had a long history of no transparency when it comes to company changes and this has bred mistrust between employees and management. As adults, we are very capable of handling change and if there is more transparency then changes can be easier. Now, the younger generations are demanding transparency from their employers and so we are starting to see more transparent businesses.
If you take away the fear of change, change is actually about growth and renewal. Try to have a different perspective on change. What do you get to create out of this change?
Engage your curiosity. Be interested in your environment, in your work, in the people around you, in Bruce Lee. Wonder. Investigate. Learn.
As Bruce Lee would say: “Be the Eternal Student,” and “Research your own experience.”
At the Bruce Lee Family Company, it helps people do their job better if they are curious about and interested in Bruce Lee. For other companies, you can do your job better if you are interested and actively curious about your work.
Curiosity is the energy of play. Often, when people go to work they do not think of it as a place where fun can happen, so they leave their playful curiosity at home. When they are at work they are there to work. This is common delineation that happens. But what if you came to work to play? What if you engaged your curiosity at work?
Shannon engages her curiosity at work whenever something business related comes up and she has to figure out how to do it. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Shannon has had to learn as she goes about how to run a business. She investigates, reads, asks questions, and finds answers to problems that come up in the business. This is fueled by her curiosity as to how a good business is run.
Curiosity helps with the other Core Values at work we discussed, Uplift and Personal Responsibility. Curiosity feeds into positive energy creating uplift at work. Curiosity helps you be personally responsible for your job as you are curious about how to do your job better or to figure out the task you have to do.
If you are engaged in curiosity about how to do your job, you will do your job better. You will learn how to be more self-sufficient and personally responsible as you follow your curiosity at work.
Curiosity does not lead you down a direct path, if you are following your curiosity it will be a winding road. Even if your curiosity leads you to a dead-end, you will learn from that too.
Bruce Lee was always curious, nothing could keep him down, and he was constantly looking towards what he could do next.
If you are curious about change, it shifts the whole experience of change and what change might bring.
“There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”
What are your work values? We would love to hear from you about what values at work that you really appreciate, enjoy, and that work for you. Email us at email@example.com or tag us @brucelee on social media with #bruceleepodcast and tell us about your work values!
We are experimenting with the formatting for the podcast so we do not have an #AAHA or #BruceLeeMoment this week, but we would still love to hear from you!
We get many emails requesting advice with “What would Bruce Lee do?” and would like to start a “What would Bruce Lee do?” section of the podcast where Shannon and Sharon respond to your emails for advice. If you need advice and are wondering, “What would Bruce Lee do?” write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bruce Lee Podcast is now on Nerdist.com.