The only two ways we actually SEE change!

Have you ever been driving down the highway or a road that you travel pretty frequently, and one day you say to yourself, something looks different about this particular building, something is missing here, this part of the road looks more open, etc.?

After further review, it comes to you that a building was torn down.  A set of trees were cut down, a building was being built and now has a noticeable feature to it.  Or, it could have been a new coat of paint on a building or something of that nature.

It could be any number of things and although some kind of work had been going on for a period of time, you didn’t really notice it until something significant had changed and it caught your attention.

This is how almost everything works doesn’t it.

Lets go back.  What if you knew that a building was being built in a certain area you drive by everyday.  Or, what if you knew they were doing some clearing of some overgrown and even dangerous large trees in a certain area.  We all have known about a certain restaurant coming to our part of town and we know where it will be located. So we drive by it to watch its progress.  My guess is we all have been in these scenarios as well.

In each case, for us to notice, what had to happen?  In the first scenario something significantly different, or a major change had to occur for us to notice something was different.  A building be torn down.  A piece of road that was now cleared.

In the second scenario, we were aware of some change or something different happening.  So we looked for it.

For us to notice change one of two things has to happen.  We either have to be aware that the change is going to happen.  Or the change is so significant or so severe it grabs our attention.   And these two scenarios are no different in our everyday regular life driving down the highway, as well as our regular everyday life in business.

In my business, I coach executives, leaders, directors, managers, etc., on ways they can improve their leadership style to create a more engaged workforce. We all know that the number one reason employees leave a company is determined by the relationship with their immediate manager (Dale Carnegie and Associates, Employee Engagement study; 2012).

So lets look at this for a moment.  If I am an employee and my manager is not a great leader and I am thinking about leaving the company. However, my manager is either directed or decides to make some changes in their leadership style.  As the employee, for me to notice that they have changed. They either must be really different in how they are leading me.  Or, I must be aware that they are looking to change.

Yes.  This is what I am saying here.  This is the only way anybody can notice a change has occurred.

Think about it for a minute.  Have you ever known anyone who decided to lose some weight?  Yes.  We all have.  How do we notice that they decided to lose weight?  What has to happen for us to notice?

Well, just like in the examples above. One of two things has to happen.  They either had to tell us that they were looking to lose weight and we start noticing a change rather quickly.  Depending on how committed they are and what daily habits we notice that they have changed.

Or, after a period of time we can tell just by looking at them, that they look different.  We can see that they have lost weight.  Again, one or the other has to happen. They either let us know that they are on a diet or they lose a lot of weight and we notice it.

Think about people who you might not see everyday.  Lets say you have a friend who decides to go on a diet and they don’t tell you.  Three months go by and you see this friend.  They have been diligently dieting and exercising and they have lost a lot of weight. When you see them after the three months, the change will be pretty extreme and you will notice it. This has most likely happened to all of us at one time or another.

Back to the manager example. What are the chances the manager is going to significantly change?  At least, noticeable change that gets the employee to think that they have turned over a new leaf? Probably pretty slim.  So the only other option is for the manager to let the employee(s) know that they are going to be changing.  Then, to take it a step further and ask the employee(s) on recommendations on what they could change.

Now does this ever really happen in the real world?  Managers asking employees what they need to change?  Well, I have been in lots of organizations and coached lots of people, and I can answer this question with a resounding, No.  Most leaders would never be willing to put themselves out there and ask for help or let people know that they are looking to change.

What is the alternative?  The leader has to hope that they change so significantly that everyone notices it.  Which rarely happens.

What can you do to change this? First, managers must realize that they need to make a change.  This can be done by them. (Rare) Or by the next level of leadership above them.  By realizing a change must happen.  They can then start to set the stage for what has to happen next.

Next thing, get the training that is necessary to be a more effective leader in todays workforce.  You can consult with someone like me to provide a solution that makes sense for your organization and the culture you’re looking to develop.  Once the training is decided on, you have to let everyone in the organization know what you are doing and why you are doing it.  Again, a professional like myself can communicate on how this is done.

Once the training takes place and has been implemented.  The real work begins. Which is the follow-up with the managers and the employees on how it is working.  Getting feedback from the employees as well as following up with the managers who went through the training is critical.  As we stated earlier, everyone will notice the changes, because everyone is aware.  No matter how subtle the changes are, there are still changes happening, and people will notice because they are aware of the changes.

Remember typically the only way we can see change, is when we are aware that change is coming.  Like the restaurant being built or knowing what construction is going to take place.  The only other way is when the change is so extreme or significant that we have no choice to see it.

Let me ask you, does your organization need to see some change?  Do you have managers or leaders that aren’t aware of the changes they need to make, which is resulting in unnecessary turnover or other issues?  If so, reach out to me at brian.willett@dalecarnegie.com and lets see if we have a solution for you.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

 

My “Never Quit” list and why I created it

Let me start by prefacing this blog with I don’t believe you should keep doing something that isn’t important.  You have to decide what is important and never quit on those things. In my world I have a few of those “Never Quit” items that I outlined in my self-published book titled 7 Ways to More.

This book turned in to a manifesto for me. Manifesto definition: a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer.  It was important for me to do this at the time that I did it, because I was having success and I wanted to document the reasons for that success.   So when things got tough, I could be reminded of what I used to do, and do a gut check and see if I was still doing those things.  It also became a declaration for myself that said these things are the most important things in my life, and I am publicly committing to them forever.

So here are a few of those never quit things:

  • Never quit on your health and fitness
  • Never quit on your personal development and self-education
  • Never quit on the pursuit of fame and fortune, mainly the fortune.
  • Never quit on your friends for life.
  • Never quit on your marriage
  • Never quit on setting and accomplishing goals.
  • Never quit on your family.

This is my never quit list.  If you don’t have a list of never quit items. I would encourage you to create one.  If you don’t draw the line in the sand today, the chances are you will cross that imaginary line tomorrow.  You will do something you don’t want to do, or you will stop doing something that you should do or that is important for you to do.

I was recently scrolling through my news feed on Facebook.  I can’t count how many times I read where someone was re-committing themselves to their health and fitness. They had taken time off from it for whatever reason and was now getting back to it.

Let me first say I have done this before.  Yes.  Way before I ever wrote my book or my list of never quits.  Hence the reason for the writing of the list.

When you quit something you are saying that this is no longer important to me.  You are saying that there are more important things in my life than this (whatever this is) right now. You are also setting yourself up for a very difficult time when you decide to go back to whatever it is as well.  When you quit something for a while it is a hard road back.  One that is full of pain and discipline and regret.  Regret, that you allowed yourself to venture off as far as you did.

I can remember when I slacked for a season or two on health and fitness and then I got back in to it.  I said “never again”.  I will get back in shape again once, and will stay there forever.

After graduating from college with my bachelors of science, I took some time off from my learning.  During that period of time not much happened for me either.  Until, I made the decision to make regular and frequent deposits in my self-education and personal development, I did not grow.

Growth comes from putting ideas in.  For you to have ideas coming out, you must have ideas going in.  I made the decision that I would never ever quit learning again.  And I am not talking about the learning you get on the job.  Most people think that is development.  It can be.  However, development and growth only comes from an intentional movement on your part to grow.

To grow you have to devote time, resources, and be willing to get feedback on your growth.  Most people do none of the three.  They instead think that just because they have been in leadership, sales, or whatever role it is they are in.  And they have successfully lead people who get paid to follow them, they are growing somehow.  You have to make time, spend the money, and get the gift of feedback on how you are doing to actually grow.

To ensure I never quit on the above to aforementioned areas on my never quit list.  I must always be creating, setting and managing my goals.  A goal properly set is half-way accomplished.  Why don’t people accomplish goals?  Because they never set them.  In my health and fitness and my personal development I continue to set goals on a daily and yearly basis.  This one exercise in goal setting is responsible for much of my success I have had up until this point and I know it will be responsible for the success I have in the future.

If you have quit setting goals.  Now is the time to get back to it.  If you do nothing I have suggested in this blog, do this one thing of setting goals in your personal and business life. Things will only get better for you.

Create your “Never Quit” list today.  I don’t know what it is for you, but you must do it today.  You never want to find yourself in a situation where you have to make a decision to not do something that you should be doing, make the decision today and manage it forever.

To your success and your future.

 

 

The truth about change and how you can learn to love it

If you ask anybody if they like change in their life, the chances are they will respond with a resounding Yes.  Most people say that they are very open to change.  They will even go as far as telling you that they live for it, they look for it, and when it happens, they embrace it.

All of us have been around people all of our lives. (duh) And although people may say they are open to change. What they say and what they do, are polar opposites.

Most people don’t look for change.  Most people don’t live for change.  And when change happens, they typically don’t embrace it, at least not initially.

Why don’t we though?  Lets be honest about it here.  Change is hard.  Change requires effort.  Change requires us to get out of what we are comfortable in doing.

As a trainer for many years.  I have watched countless people attend my courses.  The courses I teach are usually eight to twelve weeks in length.  Or they could be over two or three consecutive days.  No matter the format of the courses, three day or twelve week, 95% of the participants will always come in to the session/course and sit in the same seats, week after week or day after day. Now as a trainer I know this, and I mix it up a lot.  However, if I let the participants decide they would come in and take the same seat week after week.  Wherever they started the first day, they will be sitting there (if allowed) the last day.

Now is there any harm in sitting in the same seat?  No.  However, it points out the bigger issue. Which is we all tend to do whatever we are comfortable with or what we get used to.  So if something becomes comfortable and we get used to it.  It is much easier to keep doing that instead of changing it.

Even, when I mix up the seats, the participants will gradually make their way back to their original seat when allowed.

Again, there is no harm in sitting in the same seat, but as I said earlier, it is a symptom of something bigger.  It is hard for us to change and unless we are forced to change, we will continue to do the same things over and over.

I recently had a participant in one of my courses tell me about their daily routine.  This person oversees a large team. Under his leadership he has a few other leaders.  In his daily routine he would always walk through a certain area in his workspace.  He did this everyday.  After I had challenged him in one of the sessions to do things differently, he made a choice to take a different route in his daily walk, where he now interacted with some people that he would not normally interact with.

By following a different path he was forced to interact with a person with whom he didnt have much of a relationship with. He made the decision to engage with this person.  Which led to a deep conversation about this individual. He tells me that he learned so much about this person that it will help him lead them better and he was already seeing positive results from this individual since this interaction.

All of this happened, because of a little effort to make a simple change.

Here are three things you can do today to learn to embrace and love change.

  1.  Change the small things: Several years ago, I decided to make a small change in my life.  I was like most people and waited as long as I could before I would get up in the morning before I had to go to work.  I had to be at work at 8:00 am, so I would get up at 6:30, or sometimes push it until 6:45-7 if I thought I could.I made the decision to start getting up at 5:00 am instead.  Some of you might be saying, that is not a small change. But in the grand scheme of things it really is. This little decision I made to get up a little earlier changed my entire life. I’ll just say it like this.  Benjamin Franklin; one of the nations founding fathers said it this way:  “Early to bed, Early to Rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.  And I became more of all three because of this change.
  2. If everyone agrees, the chances are its not that great: Lets be honest here.  Most people don’t create and live the life they want.  They settle for the life they earn.  And I do mean earn.  They live the life that they can afford based on their income. Many of their decisions come from how much does it cost me a month.We have all heard that we should go to college and take on debt, no matter the amount of debt either, to get a college education.  Also, most people believe that owning a home is the American Dream and is the best investment you can make. The same people that believe both of these things, are probably the same ones that are paying on both of these things as well.

    I was sold both of these same things.  I have done them both.  However, I made the decision to stop listening to everyone that was saying the same things and believed the same things.  I instead started learning and developing my own philosophy that was different than what everyone else was saying.  And guess what, I got better, I changed my life, and they all are still doing the same thing in a lot of cases.

  3. Regular and frequent deposits in to my own self-education: I have an associates degree in electronic engineering technology.  I think it cost me about thirty thousand dollars. I also have a bachelors degree in business and a MBA (Masters Degree in Business Administration).  I think when you add all of that up, it might have cost me sixty to seventy thousand dollars.  All of this formal education that I had allowed me to get a job.  However, once I got on the job, I didn’t have any skills. I had some with my associates degree, so there was some value in it.  But the rest of my education didn’t prepare me for what many of the jobs I wanted actually needed me to do.After all of this formal education, I made the conscious decision to start investing in sales training programs, Leadership training programs, seminars, webinars, books, lots and lots of books.  I started making, and still do, frequent and regular deposits in to education that can help me be better in everything that I do. This one little change, changed everything for me.  It not only helped me develop new skills that I can monetize in the marketplace, but it also got my mind in a place that allowed me to move everything in my life forward.

So let me ask you.  Are you ready to make changes in your life for the better?  Are you really open to change?  If so, I would encourage you to just look at the simple everyday things in your life that you are doing right now, that you could change.  Maybe it is your daily routine.  Maybe it is who you are listening to.  And lastly, the biggest change you have to make is…And this is a must regardless of what you decide to do or not do.  Start making frequent and regular deposits in to your own self-development and self-education.

To your success and your future.

 

Quit blaming “It”

There are a lot of worse things in life, but something that ranks pretty high to me, has to be “Car Problems”.   Come on, I have had them and you have had them.  And they usually come at the worst times.  Like when you really need to get somewhere quickly your car decides to stop working.

I had many times where my car wouldn’t work in my earlier life.  It could have been a dead battery, an alternator, or any number of things.  And I would blame “it” instead of blaming myself for having the problem in the first place.  The problems usually would come from neglecting to do what I needed to do to maintain the car.  All cars require a certain level of maintenance to ensure things stay in good working condition.  If I would have had my car serviced more frequently, it could have prevented me from a potential problem as well. However at that time in my life, I blamed “it” instead of blaming myself.

And don’t we all know people who do the same things in their life on a daily basis now? They blame the situation, they blame other people, and they blame whatever else they can find to blame, instead of taking ownership themselves.

We all know that a child doesn’t have the maturity level to take ownership of a problem that they may have caused.  We don’t expect them to.  But how long do we allow them to use this as an excuse?  Not very long most likely.  The biggest sign of maturity is when a person can take control of their own circumstances and life, good or bad, and say it is my fault or my problem and own it.  We tend to respect people who can do this don’t we?

Here is a quick list of “it’s” that people blame:

  • It doesn’t pay enough
  • It costs too much
  • It is not what I expected
  • The system (it) is rigged

Have you ever found yourself saying any of the above sentences?  I know I have.  It took a mentor of mine to come in to my life and set me straight on what I should be saying instead.

When I said “It doesn’t pay enough”, he asked me “Are there other people in my company that were getting paid more?  I said, yes, I am sure there are.  So he said it is not (the company) that doesn’t pay enough.  You just aren’t valuable enough to the company to get paid more.

When I said things “Cost too much.”  He said “They don’t cost too much, you just can’t afford them.”  Which means you don’t make enough. He said don’t blame it.

When I said. This is not what I expected. He said “What did you expect?” I responded with “I am not sure.”  He said “Whose fault is that?”

I said the system is rigged?  He said “Is it rigged for everyone?”  “Does everyone have the same challenges as you are having?”

In each of the areas above my mentor gave me a different perspective to look at them with.  Instead of allowing me to blame “it” he challenged me to think about who was to really blame.  Which was myself.  Because in each of the above questions, I was trying to take the blame approach instead of taking ownership.  He taught me what maturity was.

So let me ask you.  Have you made any of the above blame statements before? The chances are you have?  I would challenge you to look at the opposite side of the blame, and ask what can “You” do to change the situation.

Once I learned to stop blaming “it” and start asking myself what I can do to control “it”, everything in my life changed.  Everything in your life can change too.

To your success and your future.

3 Ways to Really Create a Habit or Discipline in your life

I have had many people tell me that I am one of the most disciplined people that they know.  I am even asked from time to time, by the ones who really care to do the same for themselves, how I actually do it.  How do I maintain discipline in certain areas of my life?   Here is my simple answer that I have learned over the years.

I have studied discipline, habits, willpower, determination, perseverance, etc. at length.  Through all of my studies of success and discipline, here is what I have found to be the most beneficial to creating and sustaining discipline and habits (good ones), in my life.

  1.  You must commit first.  Seems rather simple doesn’t it.  It really is, but it is so hard to do.  Most people never fully commit.  They kind of commit.  When you commit to something you go all in.  Everything you do is directed towards whatever it is you want to accomplish.  It could be finding a new career, it could be losing weight, saving money, quitting smoking, eating healthier, etc.  You name it.  Until you fully commit, you will never be as successful as you can be in whatever it is.
  2. Have the right people around you.  This morning I was reminded of how important this is.  We all know this is important, however, we all need reminders at times on how important this really is. I have had an ongoing commitment issue with a certain discipline that is important to me. I don’t need to share this with you.  You can fill in the gaps.  This morning once again I was going to not follow through on this discipline and see this commitment through.  I just didn’t want to.  I was looking for reasons not to, versus reasons to do.  You know what that looks like, because you have been there before.  So my wife, put a little pressure on me and reminded me of that commitment.  She pushed me to see it through. She broke my procrastination.  Without her, if I was alone, I would not have done what I needed to do.  I wouldn’t die if I didn’t, but what I was attempting not to do is so good for me that I wouldn’t have benefitted from the discipline.
  3. 21 Days to form a habit is bullshit: There are lots of programs out there touting that it takes 21 days to form a habit.  I love what these programs are all about.  All of them have the right intent in mind.  If you eat healthy for 21 days, you might love the benefits from it so much that you will continue on after the 21 days are over.  If you do some activity for 21 days in a row, you may get so many results from it, that you will keep doing it after the 21 days are over.  Like I said, they all have the right intent in mind.The only issue I have, is that 21 days could or could not be all you need to develop a habit or a discipline.  Disciplines are hard.  Habits are hard to create and extremely hard to break.  I have found that 21 days doesn’t really do much for me.  For example, I have been working out and exercising for twenty years.  I would say I was committed to it and disciplined in it for about the first 10 years. Then I slacked off for about three of the next, and then I have been fully committed again for the last seven years or so. The only difference in all of those years was my commitment level and the people I was and am around that helped me and continue to help me stay committed.

    All of this to say.  I hope you can create a habit within 21 days.  However the chances are it will take much longer than that. I have even heard 66 days before. Again, maybe that works as well.

    Here is what I do know.  I have exercised and worked out for twenty years now. I would say that the last five or maybe even the last three years, it has finally become an activity that without a doubt I must do every single day.  It is so ingrained in me that if I don’t do it, I will not feel the same.  It truly is a habit and discipline now.

So which of the above do you need to do to create some habits and disciplines in your life? Have you fully committed to this discipline?  Have you surrounded yourself with the right people and are you in the right environment?  And lastly, don’t expect it to happen overnight.  It is going to take whatever amount of time it is going to take until you just perform the discipline or habit and you don’t even have to think about it.

To your success and your future.