Randy Pennington and I have known each other a long time. I like him. Trust him. Value his insights. Randy is the author of “Make Change Work,” “On My Honor I Will!,” and “Results Rule!” He digs results before fanfare. He cuts to the chase. He’s the kind-of-guy you can learn from. Which is why, you should eavesdrop on excerpts from our conversation, about change, culture and results.
Jeff Blackman: What's the difference between changing and adapting?
Randy Pennington: Adapting implies you’re responding to something that’s different. The environment, a circumstance, a twist to a problem, or even a difference in your capabilities. For example, anyone who has found them self-holding reading material at a different distance because of changing eyesight, has experienced adapting. They’re doing the same thing, but doing it differently. That’s a change.
“Change” also encompasses the potential to do something completely different or to radically transform yourself. Much of the change in business, is really adapting. It could be new technology, customer demands, marketplace expectations, or regulations. Some businesses transform and change their business model. For example, IBM’s move from selling equipment to selling services.
JB: What’s scary about change?
RP: Fear and doubt. People fear loss of control. Others doubt the change will work or that they’ll succeed in the new environment. And people fear what will happen to others or even themselves.
JB: Tell us about "readiness" and change ...
RP: Readiness is the energy that causes us to try or do something different. Newton’s First Law of Motion taught us an object at rest tends to stay at rest, until there’s enough force to cause it to move. With people, we tend to do what we’ve been doing until there’s sufficient energy (or readiness) to cause us to change.
We all know something we should change to be more successful, healthier, or happier. Yet, we don’t change. Or worse, we keep doing destructive things. “Anonymous” said, “If you want to do something, you'll find a way; if you don't, you'll find an excuse.”
JB: What are the roles of crisis vs. opportunity?
RP: Both create readiness. Some people change habits to become healthier, to have a more vibrant mind and body. Others change, because if they didn’t, they’d die. It’s the same for businesses.
Some companies embrace change as an opportunity to deliver better results for customers and themselves. Others change, only to avert a crisis.
JB: What steps ensure successful change?
RP: They vary, but these five criteria must be met:
- Link change to the mission, vision, and/or values.
- Build urgency, support, and capacity for change.
- Align organizational process, structures, and systems.
- Establish measurable goals and metrics.
- Empower action and ensure accountability.
These five imperatives can be modified for individuals. The urgency and linkage pieces can happen simultaneously or in a different order, but they still occur.
JB: How does one effectively change, when things aren’t in their control?
RP: It’s about handling disrupted expectations. Some changes we accept, without much thought or minimal disruption. Yet change that causes extreme disruption to expectations, can create considerable challenges. So …
- Slow down, separate emotion from response. Our thoughts are translated to feelings so quickly, we aren’t aware of them.
- Acknowledge reality. Acknowledging feelings as representative of our current thinking is a first step. Use understanding, to reframe thinking.
- Recognize challenges. A quick decision to move forward doesn’t minimize the time and challenges involved.
- Take stock. There’s a tendency to feel everything changes, when one aspect of our life changes. Define what’s over, what isn’t. An objective look at resources, options and reality sets the stage for positive action.
- Explore a different future. Don’t define yourself by your past. Rather, embrace your potential. Ask new questions, to create new opportunities.
- Take baby steps. Incremental accomplishment toward a desired future, is a great motivator for continued action.
- Celebrate success. Celebrate behavior that represents new thinking and moves toward your new beginning.
Remember, thoughts drive our feelings. Control how you think about change, to keep your feelings in the proper perspective.
For more new perspectives, take a peek at penningtongroup.com.
Jeff Blackman is a Hall of Fame speaker, author, success coach, broadcaster and lawyer. His clients call him a “business-growth specialist.” If you hire speakers, contact Jeff at 847-998-0688 or firstname.lastname@example.org. And visit jeffblackman.com to learn more about his other business-growth tools and to subscribe to Jeff’s free e-letter, The Results Report. Jeff’s books include “Stop Whining! Start Selling!” (an Amazon Bestseller) and the revised 4th edition of the best-selling “Peak Your Profits.” You can also stay connected with Jeff via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter: @BlackmanResults.