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Spare Change? Absolutely Not

If a down and out beggar came up and asked, ‘Can you spare me some change?’, how would you answer? Before you answer, consider your company. Most of us work with beggars and don’t even recognize it.

Everyone gives lip service to wanting to change. Yet most people display attitudes similar to real estate zoning law. NIMBY is the workplace is NIMC, Not In My Cubicle. Their actions say loud and clear, “spare me some change.”

Change is hard because it requires unlearning before new learning. Tiger Woods has changed his swing and coach at least three times and each time it took 6-10 majors to regain his form. Yet at 36, his latest change may move him again to number one.

Tiger sees his marketplace changing just like most businesses. Better technology erases years of competitive advantage and competitors are younger, more agile, and less intimidated by the old market leaders. Can you say Rory McIlroy?

Yet Tiger understands kaizen, continuous improvement. When asked why so many changes, his answer is simply, “To get better.”  Given a choice between the status quo of a number one ranking and risk associated with improving, Tiger has always chosen kaizen. No sparing change for him.

One of the best ways to help your team avoid becoming change beggars is to include two measurements in everyone’s performance plan. First ask, “what one change could have the biggest impact on their job and career?” (Ask their colleagues in a 360 review and compare for reality.)  Second, ask “what habit, if eliminated, would have the most impact on their job and career.”

Once the questions are answered, a change plan has a chance of succeeding. Changing toward something requires changing away from something. Spare time to add new habits is an illusion. Without something to aim for, the pain of dropping a bad habit usually wins. And remember the twenty-one day rule regarding habit formation. I triple the rule for habit abandonment.

So don’t give a beggar some change, teach them how to change. The value to the organization will be priceless!

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