What do Dr. Martin Luther King, the Presidential Inauguration, Value Acceleration and exiting your business all have in common?

No, they don’t all happen in January. They all represent CHANGE. January, beginning with New Year’s Day, is the month for change, new beginnings, and a fresh look at how things could be. More importantly, they all represent changing a “system.” Sustainable changes require a change in the system. If you don’t take action to change the system, it’s likely the system will pull you back to the old ways of doing things. Changing the system that reinforces the behavior or process is one key to accomplishing change. Changing the system requires a vision to inspire all to adapt to the new system. Let’s face it, change is hard.

It takes courage, strength, and wisdom to be a change agent willing take on changing the present system. We get grounded in the way things are. We get stuck; even comfortable. Even if things are wrong or bad we seem to still have trouble accepting that change is necessary.

There is an old Chinese proverb that says,

“Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy working on the proof.”

Change begins by creating a new paradigm; a shift in how you view the world. Dr. Martin Luther King presented his paradigm shift in his famous speech, “I Have a Dream” and many others. Barack Obama and Donald J Trump, whether you agree with them or not, both have paradigms based on change. As I reflected this past month on the accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King and watched the transition of power from Barack Obama to Donald J Trump I couldn’t help but think about the incredible resistance to changing a paradigm.

Value acceleration and exiting your business also require change. Value Acceleration requires a state of mind that change is constant. To improve your business and make it transferable requires that you never settle. Instilling a paradigm in your organization that change is constant and that through regular, incremental changes to improve your business every 90 days, you will not only establish a growing and dynamic business model, but this constant improvement will also help you position your business to transfer and position you to transform into your next act, whatever that may be.

For much of my career I have been proud to be a change agent. I had two guiding principles which guided my decision making. The first was 1) put people in positions where they can be successful. Change requires incredible motivation and perseverance. Discovering someone’s talent and motivation and putting them into a position where they could be a change agent and supporting them almost always worked. Some things are out of your control. Get to work on improving the things you can control and are motivated about. You can’t always recruit the talent you need, but you can position the talent you must change what they can control and are motivated to improve – right now! Build your game plan around the talent you have.

Second rule was to 2) create an organization where change thrives.  Or what I use to call making the organization “Change Ready.” Through education and by instilling a paradigm, a change mindset, within the organization you can make your organization more adaptable to the changes needed to improve a process, accept and use a new system, to change how they deal with and see market dynamics, how they work with each other, even how they feel about their job and the company.

Change is difficult- no doubt about it.  We can do things for ourselves and for our organizations to improve our skills to deal with change. Building change adaptability into your organization will help your organization accept and internalize change easier. How “change ready” is your organization? Below are few action steps to help you manage change:

Action Steps to Manage Change

  1. Be Aware
  2. Be Gentle
  3. Weigh the Pros and Cons
  4. Break Change Down into Small Steps
  5. Become an Orchestrator of Reality
  6. Make a Contract with Yourself
  7. Create a Routine
  8. Be Patient
  9. See the Whole Picture
  10. Develop a Support System
  11. Provide a Creative Environment and Encourage Creativity
  12. Encourage Superb Communications Skills
  13. Celebrate



Have a success story of how you accomplished major change in your organization or someone else’s?

Share your leadership stories in the comments below and spread some inspiration!  Or email me directly at CSnider@AspireManagementInc.com.  Talk soon, game-changers. –Chris

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