Common Thinking Errors Dealing with Change Series: Week 5


Playing the Game by the Old Rules

Last week we ended by suggesting the pain of adapting was nothing compared to the pain of not adapting.  This is basically postponing tough times in exchange for even tougher times.  Put it off until it’s even bigger?  Where is the logic in that?

One of my all time favorite books is Marshall Goldsmith’s, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.  Simply stated the attitudes, strategies, skills and activities that brought you to this plateau of success are not necessarily the same ones that will move you to the next place.

It’s very likely the change you are in the midst of has come about because you have moved to a “new” position (think promotion here), the company you work for has moved into a “new” marketplace or has gone in a “new” direction.  I’ve purposely used the word “new” here, in that, recommending you look at whatever you find yourself in as “new”.

If you were starting a new job you would likely try to learn the new processes and way of doing business in the new organization.  It would probably be clear that walking around talking about how you used to do it at your old company or doing it that way would not go over very well.

I’m reminded of a department manager in a company that we have worked with for a long time.  They are one of the most successful companies in their industry.  Much of their success has been predicated on their processes and culture. This particular manager came from another company in the same industry, one that had not fared so well.  Over his entire 3-year employment, with the “new” company, he constantly said things like, “Oh well, I guess this is the way ‘you guys’ do things.”  He had been there for 3 years! When was he going to consider himself part of the ‘you guys’?  Unfortunately, he just never turned the corner.  For years we tried to help him shift his thinking and approach, and he would not budge.  The way he was doing things was not working.  His department continually underperformed in one of the strongest marketplaces in the country.  The company eventually made the decision to let him go.  He never quite figured out that more of what was not working was not going to work.

He always said he had things “under control”, which leads us to next week…Controlling the Uncontrollable.

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