I used to not like change. But then a new boss came to town and shared his philosophy: “If you aren’t changing, you’re standing still.”
The philosophy was not unique to him, but when he said it, it finally resonated with me and now I fully embrace change.
The problem with change, isn’t the change. It’s making sure that it can happen, and in a way that is beneficial. My company has undergone significant change in the short time I’ve been with it – from a name change to a new website to a new brand. As president of the National Federation of Press Women, I’ve seen change. In fact, my presidency was a change – I didn’t go through the ranks to become president. I ran on a platform of change.
If you aren’t comfortable with change, what do you do?
I’m the type that has to read a book. I just finished Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. In the book, they share how our minds are ruled by two different systems – the rational mind and the emotional mind – that compete for control.
The book works on many levels. I found insights to help me professionally but while reading it I also set behavioral goals to help me with my fitness efforts. As the authors noted, “If you are leading a change effort, you need to remove the ambiguity from your vision of change.”
In the end, change works when people have clear direction, ample motivation and a supportive environment.
Are you ready to make a change?
When I wrote that one of my goals was to read a professional book every other month, a fellow presswoman recommended Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.
The messages within its “pages” definitely stuck with me. I say this because I slightly cheated when I read it – I didn’t actually read it; I listened to it as an audio CD in my car. The problem was there were so many useful ideas and I couldn’t (or at least I shouldn’t!) write while them down while I was driving.
So when I would arrive at a destination I would hurriedly scribble the sticky points that I wanted to remember. And it was easy to because the ideas stuck with me.
What are the principles to make a sticky idea successful? First, simplicity – it has to be simple but profound. There should be unexpectedness. It has to be concrete. Don’t forget credibility, emotions and stories.
The authors wrote about the military commander’s intent at the start of an engagement. I’m taking that to the office and turning it into a communication’s intent. Why are we writing the piece? If we don’t know, the ideas will never stick.
Another thought was to not bury the lead. I’ve had that drilled into my head since I first entered the world of journalism but we all need to be reminded of it. They refer to it as forced prioritization.
The book will change the way you communicate. It’s worth your time – whether you’re reading it or listening to it.
The authors now have a second book out, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard.