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Gifts of Ideas
 
     
 
Meiss Education Institute

How to Deal with Change
By Rich Meiss

Welcome to a World of Continual Change! 

Most of us are unprepared for the pace of change around us. If you’re like me, you’d like to have time to adjust to the last change before the next one comes down the pike.  But that is not likely to happen.  This article will address when to change or not change.

Thomas Jefferson was quoted as saying: “In matters of taste, bend with the wind. In matters of principle, stand like a rock!” This quote provides a great guideline for how to approach change. In important areas of life, such as our values and beliefs, we want to stand like a rock and not change. In the areas that deal more with personal taste, we can change with the times. With that in mind, here are three principles that will help you manage and implement change.

Determine your 3 to 5 most important values (or re-affirm them if you’ve already done this ). You can do this personally as well as organizationally. What is a value? It is a belief, principle, or standard that influences our life choices. A value is a guidepost that directs and shapes our world. These standards and principles make up the range of each person’s beliefs from which he or she acts. 

For a moment, think about things that:

            Feel important to you
            Define your fundamental character
            Supply meaning to your work and life
            Influence the decisions you make
            Compel you to take a stand
            Provide an atmosphere in which you are most productive.
 
For help in determining your personal values, see the article titled “Personal Values” in the Personal Empowerment section of our website www.giftsofideas.net
 
For organizational leaders who have determined your personal values, it is a good idea to get key employees together to come up with your organizational values as well. Here at Meiss Education Institute we run our business based on four key values: Integrity, excellence, collaboration and achievement. Of course determining the values is the easy part. The more challenging part is living by those values. 
 
 
Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing
 
One way to help live your values is to have them printed on a card and carry them with you. Then whenever you need to make a personal decision, pull out the card and ask: “Is this decision consistent with my deepest values?” By carrying this card, it helps you stay focused on what’s most important and make the right decisions when there is pressure to compromise.
 
The highest value on my list is that of “integrity” – doing the right thing. In my business of leading training programs and speaking to groups, it is common to have several organizations competing for my time. For example, I was recently contracted to lead a two-day training program in New York in January, when I received a call from a company requesting me for four days in Phoenix. Because the days overlapped, I could not take both engagements. From most perspectives, I wanted to spend four days in Phoenix rather than two days in New York. The temperature was about 40 degrees different. I would be paid for four days of work rather than two. And I have a brother in Phoenix that I would have liked to visit. But because of my previous commitment and my value of integrity, I chose to honor the New York engagement.
 
A colleague of mine calls this “keeping the main thing the main thing.” He actually has a sign in his office that reads: “My main focus is to keep the main thing the main thing!” By establishing your most important values and carrying them with you on a card, you will be able to keep the main thing the main thing.
 
Flex and Change with the Times When Needed

Of course in this rapidly changing world, we also have to be willing to flex and change rather quickly when it doesn’t compromise our deepest values. And two of the biggest areas of change for organizational leaders right now involve multiple generations in the workplace and the pace of technological change. Interestingly, these two areas are highly related, because the younger generations are taking the lead in using technology more effectively in organizational life while some of us are resisting those changes.  Best wishes as you determine when and how to manage change in the decade ahead!
 

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