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!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

RESOLVING TO CHANGE


The only certainty about change is that it will happen – regardless of what we do or say.  We can anticipate change – planning alternative reactions to the multitude of possibilities that might present themselves – but rarely can we predict with any degree of accuracy what we will be doing next year – or even tomorrow.  Change is far too elusive to be contained – its possibilities far too numerous to be compartmentalized within our finite minds.  In order to accomplish change we must act with purpose, refuse to accept the status quo – constantly identifying new possibilities through a process of screening or validating their potential benefit by measuring their rewards against the investment of time and effort required to bring them to fruition.

As we move from one year to the next, many make definitive resolutions of what they wish to change – proclaiming what will be different or what things in life they will leave behind – without ever taking the time to identify what must be changed BEFORE they move forward.  They often fail to realize their dreams because they do not identify and eliminate the behaviors that led to the need for change.  We cannot expect to see different results until we start doing things, thinking about our capabilities or reacting differently to the stimuli around us.  Change is as much about identifying where we want to MOVE FROM as it is about looking towards where we wish to be.  We need to establish goals and objectives in order to begin a journey towards change – but to accomplish change we must intentionally decide to move away from our past without becoming comfortable OR fearful within the “present” we find if we wish to embrace all the future might hold.

We must come to grips with who we are and what we do well if we seek lasting change.  We must embrace
our positive attributes while alienating the negative – and accept that where we wish to be IS an extension of where we are rather than a foreign soil or a different planet.  Change most often succeeds when it is gradual – when it builds from our strengths while minimizing our weaknesses – rather than proclaiming that things will be different without planning, preparation or self-awareness.  We can initiate and maintain change that builds upon what we do well – that does not require a complete transformation of who we are or what we portray ourselves to be.  It is relatively easy to change when we can alter a negative behavior or isolate a wandering thought to receive a greater reward than we would have had if we remained tied to what we did or where we were.  Self-directed change can be accomplished when the initiator of change is able to monitor progress, see results and continue to move forward because the positive benefits gained are greater than those received had change NOT been initiated.  Typically, resolutions that result in visible physical or behavioral change that others notice and comment upon passively feed one’s desire to maintain their change.  When obvious “positives” come from minor behavioral changes or altered choices, resolutions are often at least partially (if not fully) realized.

Other resolutions, however, while initiated through internal desires (one must WANT to change before change can occur) may need external oversight to keep the train on the track and moving in the right direction.  It is almost impossible to “resolve” to be something different or “wake up” as someone other than who we have always been without some kind of outside accountability.  Far too often when we make a personal commitment to alter our behavior we compromise our internal standards when “the going gets tough” by allowing ourselves to “stop going.”  We accept a level of “sameness” when we measure our results and answer only to ourselves.  While short-term change can be dictated, lasting change occurs ONLY when we internally formulate the “what”, fully realize the “why,” understand the “how” and are fully committed to the “what will be.”  Relying upon a trusted friend, partner or co-worker to discuss the distractions while holding us accountable to push forward will help us make significant and lasting change.  We must declare these resolutions publicly (even if the “public” to whom we declare them is but one or two) rather than keeping them secret IF we truly want help in our accomplishing transformational change.

As the New Year approaches, take the time to start fresh BUT hold on to those things that you do well –
that move you forward – rather than resolving to be drastically different.  Change is good – but sometimes choosing NOT to change can be just as rewarding.  Do not, however, accept mediocrity as a standard or find comfort in complacency.  When you resolve to change, do whatever it takes (internally OR with an external accountability partner) to initiate, monitor and maintain the change.  Resolve to make this year one of successful resolution so that you might be able to accomplish revolution in your life!