The Employers' Association

The Employers’ Association (TEA) is a not-for-profit employers’ association, formed in 1939, with offices in Grand Rapids serving the West Michigan employer community. We help more than 600 member companies maximize employee productivity and minimize employer liability through human resources and management advice, training, survey data, and consulting services.

TEA is in the business of helping people. This blog is intended to address human issues, concerns and the things that impact people - be they self-perpetuated or externally imposed. Feel free to respond to the thoughts presented here, for without each other, we are nothing!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

WHAT MAKES US CHANGE?


We live in times of transition – times when the only constant is change itself.  In such times, is it best to seek change at any cost OR approach it with caution, looking before we leap?  How much should we consider what we already have before seeking those things we wish we could have?  We may not know the road upon which we wish to travel or realize a final destination in advance of our journey BUT only by acknowledging we are not where we want to be will we ever become more than we currently are.  Accepting what we are as being full and complete will discourage us from becoming what we have yet to become.

Does the reason we change make a difference or should we consider any change positive?  Before leaping towards change, make sure you consider what you are leaving, why you are leaving it, what you wish to accomplish by initiating change and how you plan to proceed once you have your new goal in sight.  You will find that change is a process rather than an event – a journey rather than a destination – so once initiated it is often difficult to return to your beginnings.  Regardless of whether the change you are considering is personal or professional in nature, consider the following:

LOOK TO BUILD UPON YOUR STRENGTHS IDENTIFY AND ELIMINATE YOUR WEAKNESSES.  When discussing change, many say their boss is intolerable, the environment oppressive, the work is not what they thought, a partner is not what he/she once was – the list is endless.  Unless one seeks to identify (and accept) his or her role in each negative, however, it is difficult to create lasting change.  Before blaming someone else for a bad situation, examine what role YOU may have played in its becoming tarnished and consider how YOU might be able to help restore the luster.  Creating lasting change involves more than simply starting over - it requires us to end or alter behaviors before beginning anew.

ISOLATE (AND ADDRESS) THE NEGATIVES WITHIN YOUR CURRENT SITUATION TO AVOID BUILDING THEM INTO YOUR NEXT OPPORTUNITY.   We often find the things we dislike most have little to do with our duties, responsibilities or actual day-to-day activities.  Many times the “things” driving us to distraction are environmental, people we work with, the level of responsibility (or lack of responsibility) we are given (or assume), the boss, the lack of attention we are receiving (without thought about the fulfillment we receive) – the list of “dislikes” could go on forever.  If these are the reasons for change, make sure to resolve them before transitioning to something else.  Before taking action to disrupt your existence, make sure that it needs disrupting!  A relatively minor issue should not force you into giving something up that you otherwise enjoy.

IDENTIFY WHAT YOU LIKE NOW AND WHAT YOU WANT TO BE DIFFERENT WHEN SEEKING CHANGE.  Few people dwell upon what they like most about their situation – rather they carry on endlessly about what is “bad” about it.  If seeking a new job, people tend to seek positions having a similar title.  Individuals able to accomplish change tend to identify and build upon their proven abilities as they transition from one place to the next, leveraging what they HAVE rather than dwelling upon what they do not have or wish to achieve.  One should never run FROM something when initiating change but rather TOWARDS an alternative destination that provides a better environment in which to utilize your strengths.

When seeking change it is important that we run towards opportunity rather than away from failure.  We tend to see the neighbor’s “greener grass” as we ignore our own lawn’s possibilities.  We see the results of another’s effort before fully investigating our own potential.  The precursor of change should be determining what you like most about what you are now doing and building upon that foundation.  Why focus on those things you do not like when seeking a new opportunity rather than searching for those alternatives that would provide you more fulfillment?  Unless we can determine "what is in it for me," why would we begin to seek anything different from what we currently have?

We are often more comfortable doing what we have always done – and blaming others for what is not to our liking.  Those seeking change must act intentionally to do things in a manner that will allow for different results.  ONLY when we are willing to walk away from the world we know to enter one we can only imagine by leveraging the strengths we possess rather than those we wish we had will we be able to realize change – for until we can embrace the effects of change we cannot initiate it.