“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.” — Jim Rohn
Change is something that is discussed often in the business world. If your product does not adapt to the changing market, it will not succeed. If your business plan isn’t as effective as it used to be, it needs to be changed. But something people don’t think about as often is personal change. Sometimes, when it seems like you are paddling into a headwind with no way out, instead of looking for a bigger paddle, you just have to change direction. When all the odds are against you and the work is piling up, you might feel like you’re being tested. And it’s true, in a sense. Pushing ourselves to the limit is good for us, and often brings in great rewards. However, you have to know when to buckle down and fight against it and when to put the sail up and ride it out.
Sometimes, change happens inadvertently, and without even knowing it, you look back and realize that you are no longer in familiar territory. Yet it still seems natural. But other times, you need to do it yourself, and advance confidently through the thick bush, with no defined trail in sight. This is the change that can make the difference between success and failure, the change that turns a good person into a great person. The kind of change that leaves behind scars of the past, letting you know that you have accomplished something. But what some people don’t realize is that even this change fades with time, and what was once new now becomes routine. And they try to continue to prosper off of it, when its beneficial effects have long since disappeared. Or, even worse, they let go of the change once it comes, and go back to their old ways.
Every change you make should be lasting. This does not mean that every new idea you implement is going to succeed, but if you had a need for the idea in the first place, you cannot go back to the starting point. You fix it, adjust it, or maybe go another route all together, but staying on the same path to disaster is not an option.
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” — Lao Tzu
Another thing you must keep in mind about change is that everybody is capable of it. If you are having trouble dealing with a particular employee and they seem to be stuck, don’t be too quick to let them go. People who are headstrong like this tend to have good ideas, but they are blinded by their own self-esteem. If you can work with them to find a way to implement their already clear-cut ideas, then they will feel rewarded and are more likely to cooperate in a more reasonable fashion. And if the conversation does not go anywhere positive and ends up being a warning that they have to change themselves or else be forced to separate from the company permanently, and they agree, they could end up being one of the most essential employees you’ve ever had. People who can see their flaws and are willing to put in the work to change them are more valuable than those that appear to have no flaws.
Of course, if that person then does not make a noticeable difference in a reasonable amount of time, further action may be required. But until you are sure that they are incapable of using their energy in a way that benefits the company, or simply don’t put in any effort in at all, then everybody deserves a chance to face the man or woman in the mirror and tell them that things are going to be different.