“It’s been like forever.” The amount of times this sentiment has been expressed at home, at work, at church, at the gym, etc. might be uncountable. Of course, the setup for that phrase will vary. It could be that your body isn’t looking like you would hope despite your intense workout schedule. It could be that the music played at church has not yet caught up with more modern sensibilities. Perhaps your children don’t clean their rooms despite threats, promises and rewards. It could be that a work process has not evolved and those in charge don’t seem to care.
To be certain, it probably does feel like forever. You’ve engaged, you’ve communicated, you’ve tried. What more could someone want from you to know that you’re serious about influencing change, change for the betterment of others, of product, of service, of self?
Perhaps today, it needs to be about tactic.
If you remember M*A*S*H, then you’ll recall Klinger. Klinger spent season after season on the show trying to get sent home. He didn’t want to be serving in the military; he wanted to be home. To that end, he chose to dress as a woman. Now remember, this show was set during the Korean Conflict. Klinger would wear dresses, stockings, heels (definitely not standard issue uniform!) in order to be seen as mentally unstable, and therefore, needing to be sent home. The Colonel understood his tactic and wouldn’t budge. If Klinger wanted to wear heels, then so be it, just as long as he could run a mile warm up in the morning in those shoes. Klinger’s tactic didn’t work, and he remained at the 4077th until the end of the war.
As time progressed, Klinger stopped wearing those outfits and wore the standard uniform. He accepted the reality that he was staying in the war. He then directed his attentions to make his time (and the time of his team) more bearable. He changed his tactics due to a mindset switch.
Whether you are a line-level employee or a CEO, your mindset might need a switch. Your frustration with what hasn’t changed might be valid, but how have you been trying to change it? If it’s not working, go back to the drawing board. Do you need to accept the reality and focus more on how to incorporate it into your routine of existence? Or do you need to travel a new path to highlight the necessity for a cultural, process or system change? We have all heard the definition of insanity, but why do so many of us fall victim to it?
And as a quick consideration, if you are a receiver of others’ thoughts around change, please listen. Listening is not the same as adoption. You can listen well and disagree. Offer reasons for your team to understand why things are the way they are. Don’t apologize but don’t be inconsiderate.
And if you’re the offeror of change thoughts, and those thoughts are heard and responded to, the ability to accept the results is a skill to learn and embrace. Start by discerning that you have been heard. There is a difference between being heard and getting what you want. It is easy to allow the emotion of disappointment to mess with validating communication. They should be two different considerations.
So, let’s change today. Select a different workout regime. Look differently at your significant other, your children, your parents. Approach co-workers with a new communication plan. Enacting change takes variety – thought, process, measurement. If it were easy, we’d all do it right, right?