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

by Beth Comstock

A Book Review

In Imagine it Forward, Beth Comstock’s book takes readers on a journey following her 30 year career as change-maker as she confronts the challenges of an organization entrenched in the values of yesterday and helps guide them through the ever accelerating unknown.

We live in a time of relentlessly accelerated change. How do business leaders navigate this reality? How do they influence the culture in their institutions so that individuals are more open to the sharing of ideas and taking risks?

To really prosper and succeed in this age of endless disruption leaders need to deeply understand change and how to integrate it into the work that they do. “We must become ’change ready’ — that is, fearless, perpetually ready to re-envision, rethink, and redesign, whatever we do and wherever we are.”

Comstock’s career has taken her from media manager to Business Innovations leader and Vice Chair for GE. Through her candid and very personal story-telling, Comstock tells us about her failures and successes. She shares valuable lessons and simple tools– actionable items to encourage readers to go out of their comfort zone. Comstock tells us about the disappointment, hurdles, and resistance one is certain to come up against when driving change and shows us what it takes to have the courage, discipline, and skills to keep trying.

Comstock helped transform the culture of a 130 year old corporation from a guarded, risk averse, perfectionist organization to one that embraces openness, risk taking, and adaptability. Along her corporate journey, Comstock was the driving force behind many initiatives including: Imagination Breakthrough – GE’s incubation initiative; Ecomagination – GE’s clean-tech initiative; FastWorks – a program designed to build better products faster, and learn more in the process; and Healthymagination – committed to increasing affordability, improving quality and increasing access to healthcare globally.

Comstock challenged GE to keep moving forward even though they did not have all the answers. Fear is what keeps most of us from advancing; it feels safer to hold on to what we know. Yet you can’t change if you don’t move forward and it’s difficult to dream, create, and innovate if you are worried about failure. Comstock put systems in place that gave people the space to take risks. She stressed the value of testing ideas over perfection and in the process she gave people the confidence to navigate change.

Part of living in today’s world is accepting the inevitability of disruption. Whether it’s world events influencing customer behavior, competitors developing new innovative products, or digital solutions driving change exponentially, today’s leaders need to be ready for whatever emerges, and fearlessly committed to taking up the challenge of change.

Your VA is there for you to do what it takes to help you navigate change. Contact 100Ninjas today to get started.