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Jul 01 2016
The Awful Six Letter Word
Shane Inglesby, CCE, Geneva Rock Products, Inc.

Change. No one lives for it yet, without it, progress is impossible. Quite the contradiction.

The mere mention of the word can send shudders up our spine. Few individuals enjoy change yet, the reality of today's world, both business and personal, is that change is inevitable. Ask anyone who has purchased a state-of-the-art computer within the past couple of years how state-of-the-art that computer is today. Typically computers are dated within weeks of purchase.  We live in a world that thrives on innovation and change.

Understanding the process of accepting change can help in dealing with a reality that is thrust upon us . . . nothing stays the same. The unfortunate expectation that comes with change is that we, and usually many others, believe we "should" accept change. Expecting individuals to easily accept any type of change is unreasonable.


Randy Tabor, an executive and team coach, addressed this very topic at the 120th Credit Congress that took place in Las Vegas last month. In reference to change Randy stated, "Don't let anyone 'should' on you and never 'should' on yourself. Change is difficult. Change in many cases is life-altering. Saying you should accept change grossly oversimplifies a process that is much more complex."

(graph reprinted with permission)

We often think of change as "the beginning" when, in fact, it is the end. Change ends what we know. Comfort is brought to a temporary end. Policies and procedures end to allow for the introduction of something new. Relationships end or, maybe more optimistically, evolve. Life as we know it suddenly alters its course. We are headed for a "new beginning." The transition to this beginning is what needs to be understood.

When change is introduced it can be said that clarity has been lost. Further understanding of the full impact of the change, typically, results in great uncertainty. What was once comfortable and second nature becomes fuzzy and vague. We become fearful because we are forced to leave our comfort zone. Leaving this "zone" causes us to become less rational and more emotional.

At first, our gut instinct tries to minimize the impact of what has been implemented. We try to conduct "business as usual." We deny what has occurred and try to find something to hold onto that is familiar.

Reality eventually kicks in because what once was second nature is gone. Something new has to be implemented that requires relearning what was once easy. A sense of loss is felt as we feel powerless and distressed. We have entered the pit. We are as far from the "should" line as possible. We know we can't look back but moving forward seems daunting.

Hopefully, sooner than later, the realization that there is no other option than to move forward kicks in. We slowly accept what has come to pass and experiment with the new reality. Over time what was once unfamiliar becomes more comfortable. As they say, "practice makes perfect."

Realistically, the move from the pit to experimentation will result in sliding back and forth. Eventually the momentum of experimentation will propel us to recognize the benefit that has come from change and that what has occurred can be accepted and recognized as the "new reality." Ideally, it will be seen as an improvement but, even if an improvement has not been achieved, a comfort level with what has come to pass will be acknowledged.

Change can then be integrated into our work or life to allow the discoveries that have taken place to move us forward. A new "beginning" has been achieved.  

Ideally, you will look back and have a difficult time imagining ever going back. As portrayed in the graphic, the line is moving upwards reflecting the desire for improvement. The, sometimes bitter, reality is that going back is not an option. Accepting change, though difficult, will allow continued progression.

New attitudes and behaviors will be required. Acknowledging what is new will help in dealing with what has been left in the past. When possible, we need to celebrate the progress that is made.

Change is never easy. Understanding the cycle and where we are in the transition process will help provide a greater hope for what lies ahead and to see that there truly is light at the end of the tunnel.