Updated: Sep 22, 2020
The protagonist Robert Kincaid said in the book (and movie) The Bridges of Madison County, “Things change. They always do, it’s one of the things of nature.” I agree completely.
In fact, I’ll go even further: Survival depends on adapting to a changing environment.
All of us will readily admit that change is often very difficult, if not impossible. Change is rarely an easy process and is traumatic for some people, even if they recognize the truth in Kincaid’s words.
And yet change usually occurs when we are pressured to change. Here’s an example: a couple we know recently experienced a scare: the husband, a longtime cigarette smoker, had a mild stroke. After many tests and a hospitalization, his doctors declared that the stroke was not due to his smoking. Yet, he immediately stopped smoking, “cold turkey”. If his smoking wasn’t linked to the stroke, why quit now?
Because his wife demanded that he stop. She was living in fear of the day that she knew would surely come when her husband’s smoking was indeed the cause of some calamity. And she couldn’t live under that pressure. In deference to his beloved, he hasn’t touched a smoke since.
Yep, we don’t change our ways until something - or someone - is thrust upon us that forces us to change.
Don’t want to initiate your own change? You may not survive.
Which is why a company like Sears went under. I used to joke that going into a Sears store was like entering a time machine that transported me back to 1972. Walking into Sears, I would look around, and sure enough, it appeared like just I remembered when I was a kid in Iowa. The lighting and merchandising was the same. Even the appliance salesmen continued to wear short-sleeved shirts with ties and pocket protectors!
A decade ago, another big-box store bought the Sears operation. Which store chain was it? K Mart. Right - I know what you’re thinking. It’s not like K Mart knew how to change, either. When was the last time you went into a K Mart? It’s another time machine, but it’ll take you even further into the past, like maybe 1968!
In 1998, an American physician named Spencer Johnson published the smash hit book, Who Moved My Cheese?It was immensely popular and was used as the basis for organizational change management for at least a decade. Though you can get it on Amazon pretty cheaply, save your money. Here’s the short version:
Change is inevitable. People don’t like to change; in fact, they can get pretty hostile when forced into change. If you want people to change, they have to want to change, too. People may want to change if they feel a connection to the need to change because the change may benefit them.
There is more than yada-yada for the rest of the book, but that is the bulletin-point summary. And it is based on fact and truth.
So the first question that must be addressed is, “How do you get people who needto change (for business, jobs, family needs) to actually feel like they want to change? Because, whether it is a bridge in Madison County or cheese being moved, it’s a “thing of nature.”
To change, people need to be motivated. They have wanttheir cheese moved. The answer is simple, but getting there is hard.
To bring about lasting and genuine change, there are three stages to prepare for change which must be tackled in the following, specific order:
You can’t skip over one to get to another. You also can’t abbreviate one because of lack of time. Each must be accomplished in a culture of respect and trust. It is a process requiring steady commitment.
It’s a thing of nature.
Let’s break down each one in the next posts!
©️Copyright by David Samore. Excerpts in part or whole may not be used without the expressed permission of David Samore.