Word Of the Week #29: Change

April 21, 2009 by  

Change: the action of making something different in form, quality or state.

Do you find change difficult or do you love the excitement of creating something new?

One of my favorite quotes is, “Change is inevitable, growth is optional.” Change is a part of life. Four times a year the seasons change. We experience physical changes every day. How we accept and handle change, is the key to being successful, both personally and professionally.

I have worked with country clubs who for years had hand written receipts. When they installed point of sale equipment, the change was more than some people could deal with. Their first thought was, I can’t do this. It was such a big change from the way they used to do it. Eventually, over time the new way of doing things became easy.

If you are planning on making any changes this year, it’s important to for your people to understand the purpose. There must be a valid reason to change for them to ‘buy in’.

I believe a lot of the fear and why we resist change is because we don’t see the whole picture and how we fit in the picture. People have a tendency to worry about step 10 before they have taken into account the other nine steps. Make sure you have a plan that gives them a step-by-step process. Everyone needs to see and understand the part they play in the change.

This week focus on how you can grow from change rather than resisting it.  If you love change, how can help those people around you that may be resisting it.

Reader Responses

“I say “Accept Change as an Evolutionary Process, not a Revolutionary Process!” — Don Vance

“I came to Forest Lake Club in October of last year. During my interview process I was assured that things were in good order and that it was my duty to take the Club to the next level. As I am always practicing MBWA, during one of my visits with a distinguished member the following conversation took place: Mr. member, you are telling me that you don’t come to the big Sunday Brunches, such as Easter, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving or Christmas? That’s right Kurt; the wait is so long it is painful! It takes over half an hour to get in, and I have given up!  The member was kind enough to describe to me how the lines formed in the Club’s lobby, mind you, there was piano music and a full member bar, still…but, don’t worry, it has been done that way for years, there is nothing you can do, our members are very patient and will endure the wait.  After listening carefully to the member and how he perceived the procedure, I realized that the check-in point at the door and a few other points were the problem. Even though everyone had reservations, it took the folks too much time to check in each family and assign them their table.  We designed a plan of attack and changed the approach completely. Not only did we do away with the wait but we also increased the capacity of seating from 600 members to over a thousand!  Upon reservation taking, we find out the age of the children and the size of the family, special requests for high chairs and booster or any other requests are noted (such as being seated next to the “Miller’s”).  Then we designated three check-in points with a Manager or Supervisor at each. On the day of the event, we all have identical reservation sheets with alphabetical listing, table number and location (ballroom or dining rooms). To maximize seating, we offer 11AM and 1PM reservations. On the reservation card (sitting near the table number) we write down both member reservations with seating times. This has helped us visually to announce the arrival of the later seating of a fellow-member. The guest checks are prepared in advance, only requiring verification and signature.  One of the most remarkable comments came from a member who has been coming to these brunches for years: upon arriving fifteen minutes after the doors opened, he approached me and said “Are we having a slow brunch this year?” to which I was able to respond: No, Sir, we already have over 300 members seated. WOW, was his answer how did you do that? Now you (dear reader) know the answer too!  We are having fun with listening to the members and implementing change.” — Kurt J. Bischofberger

“Very appropriate, because this is going on right now in my personal life. My daughter is disabled (she’s 29), and because she has a 9-year-old daughter, she has to have a roommate in order for her to live on her own. The roommate she’s had for the past 7 months wasn’t working out for a variety of reasons, so we had to make a change (it happened just this weekend!).  It was not a fun thing to do, because we still love the person involved, but knew that it had to be done both for my daughter and granddaughter’s sakes, and for the sake of the roommate. This particular “change” was difficult for all involved, but it was a change that will have a positive impact on everyone concerned. Because we have such a great support group of friends and loved ones, the change has been much smoother and quicker than anticipated.” — Terry L. Green

“The timing was perfect for this Word of the Week on Change. I’m having difficulty with the time change and my resistance to the holiday season coming much too quickly. I was at the mall the other night trying to find Thanksgiving tablecloths and centerpieces. Not only could I not find what I was looking for, everywhere I looked I saw nothing but Christmas decorations galore. I’m feeling depressed that summer has ended and I’m having difficulty easing into the Fall season, but this is ridiculous! I need to remember to book a tropic vacation cruise for next November!” — Sylvia Castro