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Success on the Fly: Change

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 14th, 2012

Chris Waugh

Change is inevitable, and it’s how we evolve and grow. But we put a lot of energy into opposing it. This is true for you, and if you have staff, peers, family and friends, you have probably noticed it’s true for them, too. Changing our thoughts, actions and habits isn’t easy.

We fear the unknown. Change is really resisted when it is initiated by someone else, such as the boss, or corporate headquarters. It threatens our control, or what little control we think we have over our lives.

But we also resist change even when we know it’s for the better – like we resist eating a more healthy diet or quitting a bad habit.

The problem is that we are too involved in our own situation, too close to the proverbial trees to see the forest. We are comfortable, even if we aren’t completely happy with the status quo. Life seems stable without the change, and we like that stability.

We don’t look far enough down the path that we’re on to see where we’re really going. Why? We can’t see our heading or our progress because we’re too close to ourselves and too involved in what we’re doing. We only see the difficulty of the change and not the benefit. We have to learn to step back.

If you’ve ever watched someone play pool, you know that it’s easy to see if their shot is aimed correctly from your vantage point. Take a more distant view of the change you consider. An aerial perspective will help.

When considering a proposed change, flex your vantage point:

• Step back and look where you’re heading without the change – do you really want to end up there?

• Draw out a chart with a benefits column and a problems column – list everything you can think of.

• If the change involves your workgroup or family, do the above as group exercises.

• Explore the change from the typical devil’s advocate perspective – what’s wrong with the idea?

• Try playing angel’s advocate to the proposed change. What good will probably come of it?

• Discuss the benefits/problems with others so they understand your thoughts and you understand theirs.

• Prepare for challenges that will arise from the effort to change.

By stepping away from yourself, you can get a better handle on the changes you want to make. By doing these things as a group, you’ll get better cooperation and support for proposed changes.


Chris Waugh is a business consultant, author and speaker who “lends wings to your success.” Visit ChrisWaugh.com or Facebook.com/chriswaughonthefly for more.

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