Time to Talk

We have had a good discussion this week about change.  Change is going to happen, and nobody can stop it. In attempts to do so, you may end up like a penny on a train track after the freight train has passed. A threat? No, just a fact of life. Change will happen.

If you would like to look a little deeper into change, there’s a book out there called ‘Who Moved My Cheese.’  It is a concise read of 100 and some pages, and if you get an original copy of the book, it comes with a nice placeholder that has several tips to help you deal with change. You have to remember that change is not personal; it happens to us all.

One of the biggest things in change is that you’re not really alone. If you have any worries or confusion, please write to me in the comments, and I will try to help you with them and possibly guide you to resources that will help. Remember, you also have people in your area that can be of great assistance. You can reach out to them, and they can give you good ideas and sound advice.

I thank you for being with me this week. If you ever have questions or would like me to write on something to help you, let me know, and I’ll see what I could do. I’m not sure what next week holds in store, although I imagine it’s going to be something exciting. Until then, please enjoy your weekend.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again soon.

Change with Purpose

Whenever you make a change, you need to change with purpose. Making a change just because you feel like it can leave everyone in a state of confusion. The more significant the move based on a whim, the more considerable the uncertainty. Change must be needed and have a purpose.

That means change requires planning, research, and shared knowledge of what is going on and why. To do less is to invite trouble into the mix. Therefore, it is always good to work as a team and share with outside resources as necessary or advantageous.

This is not just something that can happen to workers, it happens quite often in management. A group of level II managers got together at the plant where I used to work and decided that they were going to rename all of the various conference rooms, training rooms, and other rooms in the plant. They claimed that the rooms needed new names because those spaces had no names in common with each other.  They felt that by renaming the places, there would be a cohesive structure to the type of rooms based on their use.

I happened to be working one day in a conference room they were meeting in, and they proudly told me what they were doing and how great it would be. I thank them and then proceeded to point out to them that the rooms had already been named as such. All the training classrooms were named after various train lines.  All of the larger conference rooms were named after quality control leaders. And the smaller rooms were named after quality control tools.

They looked at me sheepishly, and one said, ”Oh yeah, well, oh well.” It was clear that although they had worked at the plant for years, they really didn’t know or understand it. They went ahead with their plans and renamed the rooms, put up new signage, and laid open confusion for about the next six months while hundreds of people try to understand what new name was given to the room where they needed to go.

The sad part is that after doing this, the plant was closed and moved overseas about a year later. I appreciate the fact that they busied themselves changing room names. I often wonder what they could’ve done that would be more productive in keeping the plant open and workers employed rather than so many jobs being lost.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Do Not Forget Your Change

As we go through our lives, We find changes within ourselves. The 17-year-old who ran track or the 25-year-old who was a scuba diver is not the same person at age 45 or 50. The 65-year-old might love to have the 30-year-old back.

We find ourselves in an ever-changing world. Although many of those changes are from the outside, in the world itself, there is a constant stream of changes happening, coming from ourselves. And we have a choice. We can wail and fight those changes inside or outside of ourselves, or we can stand up and accept those changes while guiding them to do what works best for us.

Change is not always easy, but neither are we. We are here to do our best, to learn, and to help others.  Rather than fighting change, we should study it to find out how it works best for us. Most changes hold positives and negatives within them. If you find the positives, you have a better chance at less stress. Everyone Could use a little less stress in their lives.

You need to know what’s going on around you. Changes happen in your community. Road work and new forms of transportation, and even new entertainment possibilities are only a part of the everchanging landscape. Change does not require anyone to give up reading favorite books, or stop going to favorite shops, or meeting friends for coffee or a drink. Keeping up with change shows that you know what’s going on and that you can make the best decisions for yourself.

This is something to consider. And, consideration starts with you defining yourself.  It’s even good to take some notes just so that you can keep ideas straight. In a sentence, who are you? Then follow-up with a couple of short paragraphs. What are your core beliefs? What do you like? And what do you wish to avoid?

This does not have to be flowery or presidential. It needs to be you on a piece of paper. Only you can write this because you are the only one who knows you that well. No one else has to agree, and you don’t need to show it to anyone if you don’t want to.  This is just a helpful exercise to show you who, and what you are. 

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Don’t Fight Change

There are two facts that we know about in life. Change is going to happen, and change is going to be resisted. No matter how bad the differences are, they will happen. No matter how positive changes are, they will be opposed.

Some people may change because they see a  better way and want to use that to their benefit and the benefit of the people who work for them. On the other hand, people are set in their ways. Those facing change find themselves stuck in their comfort zones and do not want to venture out because no matter how bad it is, they know what is going on.

When I was a supervisor at a contract manufacturing plant, we used to work 5:00 in the morning till 5 in the evening and the other shift would work from 5 in the evening to 5the next in the morning. New management took over and changed the hours to 8:00 o’clock to 8:00 For each shift. This allowed people to sleep in a little bit longer in the mornings and be able to spend a bit more time with their families at night. The change was a good move for the workers, and yet you should have heard the screams and excuses.

People told me that they would not be able to come to work on time because of several issues. The chief worry was the traffic. Roads would be blocked with traffic. Therefore, they could never be at work on time. The cries and threatened turmoil continued until the day of change came.

Once the change happened, people were able to get to work on time, they had more rest and more time with their families, and they were happier.  A month after we instituted the change, there were no complaints, and everybody was happier. The workers were content with the change, they had just feared the unknowns that change might bring.

Everyone fears the unknown. You should not never let fear keep you from at least trying a change.  Changes are actually the way we grow. After all, how many of us still live in a cave?

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

You Be The Change

I was once the manager of a shop that repaired and installed equipment for tracking and processing satellite data. I had five supervisors and 25 people working for me. Although the shop ran well, people would always come up with ideas for change. Although everyone approached, especially the supervisors, with a demand.

They wanted to see a change enacted, yet, did not want me to assign them the task to make the change happen. The suggesters felt that I might just assign them the work to make the change happen as a punishment for suggesting it in the first place. They were young and did not understand the importance of having control of the change.

If you are offered the ability and the authority to make a change happen which you want to have made, not only is it more likely to happen, you get to control it to see that it’s done right. If you do it well, everyone notices. Getting something positive done correctly brings you to the attention of those in charge. When the people in command see the good things you can do, more golden opportunities are offered to you, and you have an excellent chance to move up within the organization.

Consider the fact that if you take a new idea and give it to somebody who does not believe in the change, it will not go very far. If you have put in the research and consideration to at least suggest a good idea, why should you not have the excitement of making it happen? The thrill of creating something new and the glory for it happening correctly should be yours.

Imagine working somewhere where if you make a suggestion, it is immediately taken away from you. When you ask about your proposal, later on, you’re told that the hierarchy is going to do something, and you should just be quiet and support the staff and new ways when their version comes out. That would not be very fair at all. You saw what needed to be done and did the work to bring it forward. And someone else receives the triumph.

Think about it.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Different Ways

One of the things that we do as a human is to find how we prefer to do things. We continue to do those particular tasks over and over again the same way. Hence the phrase, ‘set in one’s ways.’

Problems sometimes arise because once we get set in our ways, it is hard to change them. This causes us to accomplish the same tasks over and over again, our own certain way, while our community and the rest of the world continues to change around us. The longer we do something a certain way, the harder it is for us to change our actions. To this end, I would like to make a suggestion.

Every so often, you should do something different. Take a different route to go to the store. Go to a different movie theater just to see if you might like it better. Go to a different park, try different breakfast cereals, watch a different TV show.

If you’re stuck in one pattern all the time, you may be missing some of the beautiful things going on around you. I was used to often moving during my military career. I was amazed when I settled down and fell into my own routine. Because of that routine, there were areas in my town where I did not frequently go to.

One time when my kids came back, they wanted to see how the town had changed, so we took a drive. I was amazed just how much some areas had grown, and how much I had lost touch with some areas of the town that was my home. I privately felt embarrassed and vowed to do a better job of keeping up on the positive changes happening in my own community.

 We all change as we grow, even as we grow older.  We do not have to grow set in our ways, nor are we required to slow down, become forgetful, or lose our vitality.  Yet, the only person who can control how we change and how well we work is generally the person in the mirror.

Thanks for being with me today.  I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

My Present

I hope you’re enjoying your holiday season. I hope the season has been kind to you. I personally know how holiday seasons can put anyone at odds with themselves. We are made to feel we need to do more than we can, spend more than we are able, and often extend ourselves to the point of breaking. And yet, it does not have to be and should not be that way.

I have promised myself this year to change my ways. Rather than spending a lot of money, I have tried to add something which I have spent time designing or making. It was not the big thing that I did this year, yet it said something personal that I had made with the belief that the person I was giving it to would enjoy it. Is it working out? I do not know. I still have some homemade gifts which I am still working to complete. These gifts will probably have to be delivered by the three wise men.

What did you give yourself this year? We often give to everyone else, and usually, do not consider anything for ourselves. I have broken with my usual tradition by giving myself a wonderful gift. Some people may feel that it is cheap, or flimsy, or made up. I believe that my present will turn out to be one of the best things I have ever received. My Christmas present to myself is a better me.

No one can give a present like that and just walk away. Much work is involved in making a gift like this valuable. First, I have to give myself permission to be genuine, to be me. That means rather than trying to be different things to other people, I am first true to myself and my beliefs. Therefore, the first question I ask when starting action is, “Is this who I am?”

The next questions I ask whenever I consider an action or a change is,” How will this help myself and others to be better?” And I also ask, “ Whom will these actions help or harm?” I believe that these are excellent questions to consider as we get ready to make changes in operations or directions.

There are some more questions I ask, and some more actions that I have to take before deciding. You may want to ask if this slows me down? How much more time does this add to my day? Does this make me feel better, or just send me on a constant guilt trip? I can’t tell you the answers yet. I just received this present, and I will have to work with it and report back to you.

I will report back to you from time to time. If you work with or intend on trying something like this, please let us know how you are doing with your present. And if you are attempting something like this, please don’t be too hard on yourself. After all, we are only human.

Thanks for being with me today. I hope to be with you again soon.

 

 

 

Transition

It feels like this may be the last hot day of the season. Coolness starts to come back tomorrow along with the possibility of rainstorms in and out for the rest of the week. More and more our weather puts us into not one season or another, instead, into a state of transition.

No matter how much we strive to find a permanent place, whether it is work, home life, or even the climate, more and more we find ourselves in a state of transition. We often fight transition wanting to stay where we are, doing what we know, and living the life we have. Believe it or not, we actually want to stay where we are, whether we like it or not.

The trick is to embrace transition when it comes. We want to get out in front of the change. Why? Because failing to do so puts us at the whims of the winds of fate. We can either enter transition not knowing where we will end up and having to live with the consequences or when change is upon us we can plan and research and act in a method which will help us to end up where we want to be. The choice is ours.

When I was 42, and just out of the Air Force, I actually built a layoff business plan. My dad was Army, I was Air Force, and I really didn’t understand how the civilian world worked regarding employment. I did know, to find a job I wanted, I had to go out and find one.

Although the factory I worked at did not close for 14 more years, the fact I had written that plan, served me well when needed. The fact that my family and I made it through those times and grew better because of them, I believe, proves that with a little fore-thought, guidance from above, and faith, transitions are not to be feared.

Transitions merely keep us excited about what is to come next. Change can be large or small, or better or worse. More than anything else change is what you make it.

Change Happens

We do not live in a stagnant world. Change is a continuous part of everything that happens. You cannot run away from change, and you cannot hide. The best we can do is to acknowledge new differences and face them without fear.

Change comes in many forms. Our needs and wants will change. The way we share information and learn new things will change. The way we shop will change. The way we are entertained will change. And as we move on, we will find out that we change. I have realized this and begun to hope to change for the better.

We have two ways to handle this. Either we accept the fact that change happens, and we keep up with the changes, or we ignore or fight change in which case we actually find others bypassing us as we strive to keep up. It is better to keep up with change and understand how it will best benefit you, instead of fighting change and finding that you are left out of many of the good things in life.

I am not up on the latest and greatest of everything, although, I do try to stay involved in what is new now, and what will help me both now and in the future. I find this keeps me a little more agile and the mind nimble. Staying involved helps to cut down on the cranky days were nothing moves right not even the brain.

I prefer not to coast along. As you saw on one of my blogs last week, coasting usually represents a downhill movement.

One of the famous sayings related to older people is, ‘Things are changing and none of it for the better.’ As I hit my retirement years I’d like to change the phrase a little:

Things are changing, thank goodness!

 

 

Are You Connected

Technology is a great tool. The use of the computer today allows us to pay our bills, text and get immediate responses, buy things, sell things, share thoughts and even talk to someone face-to-face with a visual chat. Are there some problems that could be made better? Sure. And yet think of how much better this mode of communication is compared with others in the past.

Think of the sailors who used to go to see for years at a time, and their families and loved ones would not know where they were, what they were up to, or even if the wayfarer was alive or dead. Then think of the colonists coming to the new world and building from scratch an entirely new way of life.

At least the colonists in the new world had ships going back and forth to England, and they were able to send letters on the boats. They could send a message and get a reply back in probably three or four months. This was a vast improvement over what had gone on before. At least they got the letter replying back if one of the two ships going back and forth didn’t sink, or the cargo did not get washed overboard.

The other concern with sending letters back and forth across the Atlantic would be whether or not the receiver had been trained in the technology. Not everyone at that time could read. Most people could not sign their own name. The old joke about putting your ‘X’ here was an absolute mainstay of contract signing back then.

We are better educated today. And yet, many do not understand the fundamental technologies of communication today. I do know people who, rather than learning a new technology that could open up their world to many new experiences, actually pack up the computer and put it on the shelf in the closet. They did not understand it, and rather than learning, they just gave up.

Those who give up on technology feel they don’t need it. Many never had the technology when young, and therefore don’t feel the technology is required now. And as these folks go through life, they can be pleased and comfortable, and never realize they are actually just an island, stagnant in a stream of everything that goes on around them. They never see anything other than their little island, because without this technology they never knew what else was out there.

If you live as part of an extended community which makes a choice to limit technology, such as the Amish, you do not miss out as much. Because everyone in the covenant works at the same technological level. The loss of information and lack of gaining knowledge happens in the broader culture where various individuals use various levels of technology and do not get to see the knowledge presented at some of the other levels.

What did they miss out on? Family pictures, live video chatting, purchasing without ever leaving the comfort of your home, gaining knowledge on anything you want to know about, sharing with others, expression, and many other things.

As a community, we can help those who wish to learn newer technologies to do so.  If you know someone who needs technical help, lend a hand.  If you need a little help, check community centers and other places where people share knowledge.  Many centers may have free or nearly free classes.

Let’s Stay Connected