How To Make Sure Your Change Does Not Flop

A man walked into a psychiatrist’s office. He said, “Doc, every time I see nickels, dimes, and quarters, I have a panic attack! What’s my problem?”

“Oh, that’s easy,” the doctor answered. “You’re just afraid of change.”

Well, maybe you, or your team, or your company is afraid of change — especially in these turbulent times.  So you shy away from it.  Or you try to stop it.  Or you say, “Things aren’t that bad … It’s still working … So why bother to change anything?”

Others of you, on both sides of the political spectrum, are saying that just about everything in this country is rotten and everything needs to change.  You’re an advocate for change. 

The problem is … no matter what your response to change might be … most people are not very effective in dealing with change.  So let me give you a few principles of effective change management that come from my Journey-to-the-Extraordinary program. 

(B.T.W.  My last public offering of the Journey will be in the Spring of 2020.  Look for registration information in future Tuesday Tips.)

► 1. Learn the truth about change

In fact there are two basic truths you have to start with. 

First, all progress is the result of change.  No person, no team, no family, no relationship, no company, no product, and no country ever got better or made any progress without making some changes.  After all, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.

However, the second critical truth is not all change is progress.  Some of the changes that people propose make no sense and may actually be destructive and dangerous.  And yet the news is filled with idiots demanding change without any experience, research, rationale, or history to back up their claims.

So I advise you to ask yourself four questions before you advocate or try to bring about change. 

  • Is it necessary? (In other words, you don’t change things just for the heck of it. You need a good reason before you change things.)
  • Will it work? (Based on your experience, intuition, and research, do you believe your change will work out?)
  • Is it cost effective? (There are some changes that you could initiate or implement, but the cost is too high. The change might ruin your relationships or bankrupt the country, for example.)
  • Is it worth it? (Will there be a big enough payoff after the change that makes all your investments of time, money, and energy really worth it?)

For any change to be constructive, you need to have at least two “yes” answers … but the more the better.

► 2. Find something to hang on to.

It may be your faith, your family, or even yourself. But you’ve got to have something to believe in when the world is crashing  down around you.

That’s why … when I teach the 12 keys in my Journey-to-the-Extraordinary experience … the second key is PURPOSE. I tell participants they’ve got to know what on earth they’re here for. I tell them they’ve got to stand for something or they’ll fall for anything.

Yes, you’ve got to have something to hang on to. That’s what the Allied Armies learned immediately after World War II. They were the ones who gathered up thousands of hungry, homeless children and placed them in large camps. It was there that the children were abundantly fed and cared for.

However, at night the children did not sleep well. They seemed restless and afraid.

And then one psychologist hit on the solution. After the children were put to bed, each one received a slice of bread to hold. If they wanted more to eat, more was provided. But this slice was to hold and not to be eaten.

The slice of bread produced marvelous results. The children would go to sleep, subconsciously feeling they would have something to eat in the morning. That assurance gave the children a calm and peaceful rest.

Maybe you need more calm in the midst of all the turbulent change that is going on in your life or at work.  Then make sure you’ve got something to hang on to.

And make sure it’s something that comes to your mind … many times … throughout the day. It may be an affirmation you think, or a word of gratitude you say, or a power you acknowledge.

I know it works for me. I always carry a medallion in my left pocket and whenever I happen to stick my hand in my pocket, I’m reminded of the powerful, encouraging words printed on the medallion. It’s something I hang on to.

Let me give you something else to hang on to:  my Blacktober Friday special coming October 15th.  For a limited time, you will be able to book my onsite training programs with a special savings.  More details in next week’s Tuesday Tip.

And then…

► 3. Acknowledge your feelings … but don’t bow down to them.

You see … all change produces fear, anger, loss, and/or confusion. That’s normal. That’s what you’re going to feel … to some degree … when you go through any change. Even good change.

So don’t make the mistake of thinking your change will be a breeze. It will involve some uncomfortable feelings. And most likely, you won’t feel totally at peace about your change until long after it has been implemented.

I remember that from my days in retail trade. We used to put a price sticker on every item in the department store and the cashier would manually key in every item at the checkout counter. Of course, we had a fairly high error rate because it was all too easy for the cashier to punch in an incorrect number. And it took a long time to process customers.

Then in the mid 1980’s, we started to use the bar code system. The cashier could simply scan in each item as he/she moved the item across an instrument that read the bar code and instantly recorded an accurate price.

At first, the employees were skeptical of the new scanning system. They bitterly complained “That computerized system would never work …. And … They’ve never done it that way before.” 

They even showed signs of fear. But after a while, the fear disappeared, and the cashiers loved the new technology. They made fewer mistakes and could check out more customers in a given period of time. If the scanners were taken away now, and if we reverted back to the use of sticker pricing and manual entries, the cashiers would not be pleased.

What’s the point? People soon forget the fear of change … once they’ve realized the benefits of change. So it’s okay to acknowledge your feelings, but don’t bow down to them and let them stop you from implementing the change.

Dr. Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip, Issue 1008 – How To Make Sure Your Change Does Not Flop