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February 2019
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TD Magazine

A Green Light for Change

Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change

By Beth Comstock
The Crown Publishing Group, 416 pp., $30

Are you waiting for permission to step up to make a change? There's great news: Comstock has given you permission to imagine it forward—complete with a permission slip. To emphasize the need for everyone to move forward, Comstock draws on her experiences as a career change-maker and disruptor at General Electric.

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To remain the same in a constantly changing world means that we ultimately fall behind. Because the pace of change only accelerates, waiting for a slower time to act will be futile. We cannot avoid uncertainty, either. We'll seldom have perfect information when making decisions about the future. However, we can often discover opportunity within uncertainty if we are open and look. Comstock provides encouragement to readers to trust their instincts and overcome their fear—even in the face of uncertainty.

As talent development professionals, we must reimagine how we should deliver training and rethink what content we should create. This is an ongoing process requiring constant adaptation to respond to evolving trends, developing technology, and changing environments. Even more, we have a responsibility to help everyone in our organizations to think differently, imagine a different future, and find the courage to create it.

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With all the lip service given to thinking outside the box, Comstock reminds us that we often confine ourselves to it. We should not wait for a crisis; we must anticipate the future and begin to create it. Using personal stories from her career, Comstock discusses the challenges in moving forward and offers a wide range of practical tools and strategies to overcome these hurdles. She emphasizes the social nature of innovation as a team sport; yet working with others to innovate creates unique challenges.

Regardless of industry, organization size, or our specific position, we must all imagine it forward and take action to create change. Our call to action, then, is to embrace the role of becoming change-makers and to integrate this into our everyday responsibilities.

Comstock's permission slip can help readers overcome their insecurities about change, giving readers permission to rely on their instincts, develop new mental models, make new assumptions about their personal realities, and become more comfortable with failure. Talent development professionals may also consider the need to pay it forward, sharing Comstock's permission slip with others when we feel the unspoken question in the room holding others back from imagining it forward is "Mother, may I?"

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About the Author

Pat Buhler, a professor of management at Goldey-Beacom College in Wilmington, Delaware, is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources and a SHRM Senior Certified Professional. Pat teaches in the graduate and undergraduate programs, specializing in management and human resource management. She has received the institution’s Excellence in Teaching Award twice and was named to Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers twice. In addition, Pat was the 2005 recipient of Delaware’s Ron Shane Lifetime Achievement Award for Human Resources and the 2015 recipient of the Delaware Valley HR Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2011, she served as the director of the Delaware State Council for SHRM.  In addition, Pat has served for two years as an item writer for SHRM’s certification exams. She is the author of more than 125 articles and has published six books, including two SHRM-published books: Destination Innovation: HR’s Role in Charting the Course and Up, Down, and Sideways: High Impact Verbal Communication for HR Professionals (with Joel Worden). 

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