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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ready for change?

This image is a little distant from this article's theme, but I like the questions the photo raises from a Construction Marketing Ideas perspective.

Mel Lester makes an excellent point in his E-Quip blog when he reports that hard times may be the key catalyst for important and necessary changes in your business and life.
But sometimes change is imposed upon us, and we're forced to respond in ways we were unable or unwilling to do previously on our own unprompted initiative. Economic downturns can do that. Hard times can be just the catalyst we need for needed change. Rahm Emanuel's comment "never waste a crisis" was politically motivated, but that's not bad business advice.

One of the most important truths of organizational change is the following: "If the pain of change is greater than the pain of staying the same, change will not occur." There are many reasons change initiatives fail, but this is the most common. There is too much discomfort in changing, not enough in staying the course. So the status quo prevails, often despite elaborate plans and valiant improvement efforts.
I agree. It is hard to change when things look like they are working well, even when they aren't. Sometimes you need a real scare, a real crisis, to provoke the necessary change. But there is an important precurser for success in these situations: You need to have the knowledge and insight to be aware of what you need to do, and why.The best example I can give of this quality is how I made it through the early 90s recession, about three years after starting in business. I remember heading home from the office one blustery March day, thinking all had been lost -- if you added the negative equity in a dumpy property I owned, I was effectively bankrupt -- single, no girlfriend or family, nothing much to show in life for a 38-year-old.

But a couple of years earlier, in a trade-out deal, I had obtained some Brian Tracy motivational tapes, and one thing he suggested was to affirm "I am responsible for myself", and for some reason, on that dismal day, this thought stuck in my mind. Sure, things were bad, but no one but me could solve the problem. Two years later, I married the woman of my dreams (I had known her as a friend for 13 years) and my personal standard of living skyrocketed as my business recovered.

It is easy to say that this magical turn-around occurred because I purchased and listened to some tapes by a motivational guru but that is too simple. Other choices, decisions, and responses shaped and continue to challenge my assumptions. So should you.

You will best be prepared for change with the bedrock of your values, and your accumulated knowledge of what is right and necessary. Then, when hard times hit, you will respond naturally and effectively to the crisis and make the changes you should have made long ago.

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