We now know that change can come from many directions and that while there are three ways to respond to change, adapting is often the best reaction. But what if you don’t want to adapt? How can you change your mindset? Or help your sales team with their mindset?
In this Lesson in Leadership, we examine a helpful way to think about change.
The simple truth is that change has no impact on any of us on its own. Change is just an event. It’s just another moment in your life you will most likely live through.
In order to give change power over you, you must attach an emotion to it. You decide for yourself how you feel about the change. You do this unconsciously. Most commonly, you attach an emotion to a change based on what you believe this change is going to mean to you.
Every time you face change you, like everyone else, reach into your pocket and pull out your personal, emotional price tag. What will this change mean to you? What will it do for you? Or what will it cost you?
If you anticipate a positive outcome you naturally attach a positive emotion to the change. If you anticipate a negative outcome, you attach a negative emotion to the change.
What is the answer to the following question: if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, will it make any noise?
The answer is who cares? There’s no one there anyway. Feelings about change work the same way.
If a change happens in a different city and has no impact on you or anyone you know or care about, what does it really matter to you? We’re not saying you don’t care about the people the change impacts.
But because there is no impact on you personally the change doesn’t involve an intense emotional attachment, connection, or response for you.
You are most dramatically impacted by those changes that happen to you, personally. You can also be emotionally impacted when change happens to those you care about. Maybe not as intensely, but it can definitely influence the way you feel.
Understanding how a change impacts you emotionally is important because the way you feel and the choices you make as a result have a definite bearing on the way you behave.
“Change by itself is neither positive nor negative … it’s how we respond to it that determines the outcome.” –Dr. William D.S. Smitley
If you feel positively about a change you will most likely take positive action. If you feel negatively about a change you will most likely take negative action or no action at all.
Sometimes people even wait to see what the change might mean to them before doing anything. We call this “transition hesitation.”
Still, whether you act positively, act negatively or hesitate … it is always a choice! You, like us, feel emotion when faced with some changes. How you choose to act is up to you.
Our emotions are fuel for the fire of motivation. The more powerfully we feel our emotions the more spontaneously we react to situations. Although we can still decide for ourselves how we are going to feel or act at any given time.
If you make up your mind that all changes are bad then most change will impact you negatively. When you feel this way the change will be more difficult for you to implement. If you make up your mind that most changes are good, the change will be easier for you to implement.
Some employees still believe they have no control over the emotions they feel during a change. For some employees change is not an open door to opportunity. Some employees still view change as an endurance test, probably contrived by some manager to “shake up” the status quo.
This is normally untrue.
As managers, we respond to change in order to provide better service to our customers, employees, and company in the long term. And we do create change when we believe that doing so will benefit the team, the customers, and/or the company.
As human beings we all grow more during times of change and transition than we do during times of calm and quiet. Think about it. As you reflect back on your own life, haven’t you grown more as a direct response to change than you have when things remained the same? Of course you have. We all have.
So, what can we do to create a more positive outcome when facing any type of change? That’s easy!
When a person is aware that change can generate opportunities for him, he can find creative ways to construct a change or personally exploit a change. When you understand and feel good about a change you get the most out of it.
Believe it or not, you possess the natural ability to change and change well.
Oddly enough, even those who are most resistant to change, still change. They often make matters worse.
Which is, by the way … change!
Once you’ve modified the way you view the changes being forced upon you or your business or industry, you can be more successful. In fact, you might even want to embrace the changes!