If change is going to take place regardless of how you feel about it, why not be the one who is taking an active role in effecting change as opposed to being the one to whom change is happening?
Change isn’t anything to fear. Nevertheless, many people fear it anyway. I think fear of change arises from our tendency to be creatures of habit, to develop comfort zones as result of those habits, and to not look favorably on anything that is going to take us out of or past that comfort zone.
While there is nothing wrong with good habits and comfortable feelings, developing a reliance on those habits and feelings over an extended period can stunt your growth and your development as a person.
Change is all around us. Every day, new agreements are created, and old agreements expire. Costs go up and down, but mostly up. Rates vary. Minds change from time to time and even certainties, like taxes, change every once and awhile. So, whether you like it or not, change is a constant in your life and the sooner you learn how to cope with it more effectively, the sooner you can get on with achieving forward progress. In other words, if change is going to take place regardless of how you feel about it, why not be the one who is taking an active role in effecting change as opposed to being the one to whom change is happening?
If you have read anything in the Serial Decision Maker series, you are already familiar with the concept of taking command of your destiny and being the one who is making things happen. Understanding the importance of change and making it a point to be the agent of that change when and where possible is a direct derivative of this concept.
Not all change is the same. In fact, like so many things in life, it comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. This also means that the steps you will need to effect change will vary greatly from making a minor adjustment to creating a customized solution.
One of the first things for you to understand when contemplating change and the role that you can play in effecting it is whether the situation calls for a tinker or a tailor.
Knowing this will help to ensure that you approach the matter with the proper perspective and you neither over nor under react. A thorough understanding of any situation coupled with a healthy perspective of what your role may be in providing a solution to it also goes a long way to reducing any fear or anxiety you may have about the process.
Many situations, for which a change is in order, simply require an adjustment or a tinker. For example, if you have an established study routine that has served you well, you probably don’t need to scrap that routine and start over the first time you get a grade that you did not expect. Perhaps the subject requires you to spend more time studying the text book then the notes that you took in class. It is possible that the homework assignments didn’t line up with material on the final exam as much as you thought it would. Either way, sustained success with a system or method of doing things shouldn’t be tossed out the window the moment you fall short of a goal. That would be discounting the thought and the preparation that you had previously put in to achieve prior success.
Similarly, if you develop a business plan and you end up achieving most of the goals that you outlined in the plan, the plan was most likely a success. By building upon the successful parts of the plan and learning from the processes that did not lead to success as you had defined it, you will likely be well served by making the needed adjustments and continuing forward than you would be by ignoring the plan altogether and, unnecessarily, drawing up an entirely new approach.
In these examples, the change contemplated is minor in nature and not in need of major effort or resources or time. A little tinkering will go a long way here and you will be more likely to act efficiently and with purpose if you understand what type of change is required.
Of course, there are also times when a full-scale overhaul is absolutely the solution. These also happen to be the times that are most intimidating and when action is delayed because of that fear of change. Even if you capably analyze a situation and accurately identify the scale and scope of the change that is required, the mere thought of the amount of time and energy and risk that you will need to expend can be daunting. This is when that comfort you derive from what you know and have grown accustomed to can really go to work on you.
My question is this, what is your alternative? The type of change that requires a custom or tailored approach is difficult. It does involve risks and you will probably be uncomfortable during part or all of the process, but what is the alternative? Pretending the problem doesn’t exist? Hoping someone else will do the work? Believing that somehow you will achieve a different result doing the same things over and over again?
If you know that you need a fresh approach to your business because you are chronically falling short of your goals, analyze the pros and cons of each choice that is available to you and make the call because, if you don’t, your company is eventually going to go out of business and the price that you will ultimately pay will be far greater than the discomfort you will experience having to make the needed change.
Manage the process, communicate proactively with all relevant parties, seek collaboration and to develop an understanding with them, and make the changes that are needed by tailoring a solution that will work for you and your company.
Whether you are the main decision maker or a so-called cog in the wheel, your value as a participant in any process dramatically increases as soon as you become a capable and confident agent of change. That path begins with your willingness to step out of your comfort zone and accurately assess the needs of a situation or problem. Once you are out of your comfort zone and you understand that change is going to occur regardless, it makes perfect sense for you to go ahead and lead the charge and be the champion for the cause, however significant or insignificant that cause may be.
The only thing left for you to decide is whether the task at hand calls for a tinker or a tailor.
This article is part of Scott Arney's educational series, entitled The Serial Decision Maker.