Change is not about being irresponsible, reckless, or careless. And while lives are not at stake, livelihoods are. If you are not successful, jobs will be lost. Mortgages and retirement and college funds will be affected. This is not a game. Driving change is about driving success and is serious. You know that. You're playing with your reputation and future too. Or you'd better be.
I mean it. Good economy? Bad economy? It doesn't matter. I am sick and tired of people acting scared, whining about what they can't do, thinking every little detail through, and then playing it safe. That's the path to mediocrity, and it makes change agents miserable. Heck, it makes everyone miserable. You may think you need to play it safe so you don't "lose." But you don't ever know what's going to work. And so what! Please, tell me: what's the worst that's gonna happen? You make a mistake? People point fingers? You lose a client? You lose some money? You lose your job? Maybe. Most likely, the worst you will get is a paper cut -- literally and figuratively.
In the end, most businesses can sustain a little "ready, fire, aim" when changing. If you want to test something out, go for it. Think it through but take risks. Push like crazy and be persistent. That's the mental edge you need. One mistake or setback does not mean total failure. Seven of every ten things change agents do will be good and three will fall flat. Those are good odds. Be strong as you run the gauntlet.
You'll need that strength to overcome your fear -- and let's face it this is scary. In order to enact change you need to create tension. Causing tension is the foundation of the change agent's no-one-is-going-to-die attitude. You walk around all the time asking, "What can we change? What can we do to make it BETTER?" Having trouble getting started? Do what change agents like me do: look for change everywhere you go. Go to a restaurant you love or a business you admire and ask yourself what do you think they could do better? Then turn that same spotlight on you and your business.
But don't wait for every change to happen before you start selling it. Remember: no one is going to die. Sometimes you need to put things out there and move a little faster than you are actually moving. Or as I like to say: Put a stake far enough out.
You can't worry about setbacks as a change agent. If you believe it is the right thing to do you must stand behind what you do and really push to the edge of the table.
And sometimes… you only know you have pushed things OFF the edge of the table when they HIT THE FLOOR.
And no one will die.
Jeffrey Hayzlett is a global business celebrity and former Fortune 100 c-suite executive. From small business to international corporations, he has put his creativity and extraordinary entrepreneurial skills into play, launching ventures blending his leadership perspectives, insights into professional development, mass marketing prowess and affinity for social media. He is a well-traveled public speaker, the author of the bestselling books, The Mirror Test and Running the Gauntlet, celebrity editor to one of the largest-circulation business publications and one of the most compelling figures in global business. Jeffrey can be reached at JeffreyH@hayzlett.com
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