Issue 13 - September 7th, 2017
No matter how much we stick to the routine, stay the course and maximize efficiency, let's face it -- shift happens. We can either face change head on or go kicking and screaming like a baby coming into the world. Just like that newborn, though, we often discover that change really isn't so bad.
That attitude is a start to managing change, but what if we went a step further? In our organizations, we often talk about change as something we must "deal with" rather than proactively looking for it. We lament the exponential speed of change, and business gurus tell us if we don't adapt to change, we will soon be OUT of business. I suggest flipping that outlook by taking the fear out of change and instead, approaching it with a sense of desire and creativity.
What if we aggressively initiated change and valued it in and of itself, rather than reactively responding only when there is a challenge. Seeking change is the true spirit of innovation and continual improvement. To quote the title of Robert Kriegel's book: "If it ain't broke...BREAK IT!"
I recognize that taken to the extreme, his philosophy has the potential to create chaos in our otherwise well-oiled business processes, but as Kriegel suggests, it is more likely that we have plenty of sacred cows in our business that we need to make burgers out of.
These business-related "cows" can include obsolete policies, turf wars, unquestioned operating procedures or a status-quo culture. We keep doing the same things because they were always done that way.
According to business management consultant John Maxwell, in any organization faced with the need for change, only 20 percent will embrace it and visualize the opportunities, half will "wait and see" and the other 30 percent will actively resist it. Guess which group gets the most attention? Maxwell recommends that instead of spending time reacting to the resisters, management should woo the fence-sitters and empower the 20-percenters.
As business leaders, we should also ask ourselves which category WE fall into when it comes to change, and how we can become our organizations' change champions, conduits for continual improvement. What personal "cows" -- unproductive routines, ruts and habits -- should we put to pasture?
Creating a culture for change in the workplace and within yourself will result in revitalization, focused vision, new energy, a sense of teamwork and a feeling of being better integrated with your surroundings.
For starters, force yourself to look at change as an adventure. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Look at a magazine starting at the back. Sleep on the other side of the bed. Sit on the opposite side of the board room table than you usually do. Drive to work taking a different route. Spend the work day outside of your four walls. Ask questions.
Did you know that before it can become a butterfly, the caterpillar has only one job? TO EAT. They consume 27,000 times their body weight during the first few weeks of life. Change champions are equally as insatiable...for information.
Indeed, knowledge is the greatest asset in spotting opportunities to SHIFT Your Game. That's why I can't wait to see you at NASPL's 2017 Conference in Portland. Let's get ready to make SHIFT happen in our lives, organizations and industry.