Embrace Change in 2020

Ask yourself what behaviors, as a leader, do you need to change or initiate in others, to see a change occur.


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road sign with "change just ahead" written on it ​​​​​​​

As we start a new decade, there will be inevitably lots of changes in the business world. Often people feel that changes happen to them. Changes can come from clients, from employees, from government regulation and several other sources.

Change can also come in the form of needing to shake up stagnation. Is your company doing business the same way it did 10 years ago? The phrase, “We’ve always done business this way,” is the sure kiss of death for long-term success. I’m giving you permission to recognize that it’s not OK, to be “just OK.” In order to create change, you must be unwilling to except the status quo.

The final area that drives the need for change is lack of growth. Is your business simply not growing? Is your business “stuck” with flat growth or worse yet, a revenue decline? You have the business you are willing to put up with.

I would challenge you, as a leader within your company, to consider change from an empowered position. Ask yourself, what does a successful next 10 years look like in my business? What do I want my legacy to be within this organization? In business it’s not about what we are willing to do; it’s about what we are unwilling to accept.

What changes do you want to initiate in 2020? Ask yourself what behaviors, as a leader, do you need to change or initiate in others, to see this change occur. Often, as a leader, we need to unstick ourselves, to unstick our businesses.

Change occurs when we are unwilling to accept our current reality.

Growth requires self-examination. A couple of factors to keep in mind is:

  • People will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.
  • The opposite of unstuck is break through to the next level.
  • We hold a belief about ourselves and life that we “prove right” through our daily actions.

In our business life, we are seeking predictability. We want as much certainty as possible. Certainty is a craving for prediction. Trying to figure out what’s going to happen / expect. We want to be safe.

Unfortunately, that mentality is a falsehood that doesn’t exist. When we choose the pursuit of certainty over the reality of uncertainty, we stop achieving. In order to change our businesses or grow our skills as leaders, we need to embrace uncertainty.

Change occurs when we are unwilling to accept our current reality.

  • Are you unwilling to accept the current state of your business? Hire a coach.
  • Are you unwilling to except your miserable job? Post your resume online.
  • Are you unwilling to accept your current weight? Eat differently/ join a gym.
  • Are you unwilling to accept an underperforming or toxic employee? Get them to leave your company or terminate them.

You can decide in one day what you are unwilling to accept and make the changes from there. Engage with what isn’t working.

However, its more than only positive self-talk and positive thinking. In the book, “Rethinking Positive Thinking,” author and psychologist, Gabrielle Oettingen, discusses the actual process of how to make any change we want, through the science of goal achievement.

She combines the theories of mental contrasting with implementation intentions, through her program of WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan). For example: 

Wish: What do I really want? Be incredibly specific. 

Outcome: What does my vision of success look like. It’s key not to stop here. Oettingen’s research shows that the more you simply think about your dream, the less likely you are to achieve it. Our brains cannot tell the difference between dreaming of an experience (for example, experiencing a wish) versus actually living out the experience. The more we dream about our wish, the more we become pacified by it.

Obstacle: What is holding you back, and what is the hard part? 

Plan: What is my strategy and execution method to deal with the obstacles (If … then ...). Mental contrasting triggers subconscious motivation.

After doing the WOOP exercise, you should feel optimistic and energized. If you feel overwhelmed and defeated following the WOOP exercise, you will need to ask yourself if this change is something you truly want to make, and if you have the capability to do it.

Change is a challenging undertaking. It’s not always going to be a journey dotted with one happy moment after another. It is, however, a satisfying journey. The biggest successes are born out of discomfort, uncertainty and risk.

Challenge yourself to take it and be willing to look bad in order to get good.

About the Author

Todd Palmer ​​​​​​​

Todd Palmer

Todd Palmer is the president of Diversified Industrial Staffing, a national skilled labor recruiting firm, based in Troy, Michigan. 
Contact tpalmer@diversifiedindustrialstaffing.com.