Change Now–It Might Be Too Late Later

Published on April 19, 2013 by

A little over a week ago, CPI Corp shut it's doors. CPI who, you say? You might not know the name, but I bet you've seen them taking family portraits with the babies and small kids squirming and crying in their studios housed in Sears, Walmart and Babies R Us. About 2,700 portrait studios in all--but no more--the company recently died and has left thousands of employees behind.

In 2006, the CEO at the time, Paul Rasmussen went to the board with suggestions and warnings about taking better care of their customers. The board didn't listen--they were doing quite well, thank you. So, instead of changing anything, they kept right on doing what they had been doing--and then they died--not suddenly, but slowly over time.

The problem is that they are not unique, not by a stretch. We (companies or individuals) seem to have a preference for thinking and doing the same thing, over and over again. We become trapped by and in our thinking, choices and habits and we're oblivious to that. We complain about this or that--and then keep the status quo alive and well.

Why? One reason is because we can. We seem to be doing okay--and the truth is that too many of us are content with Okay. We get lulled into a false sense of security and we don't see the writing on the wall. We don't want to even acknowledge there is a wall. Leaders do that, employees do that--and we routinely do that in our personal lives. I've been guilty of this and I bet you have too.

We haven't died yet--at least not in the final sense. The problem is that when we refuse to change, a little bit of us dies on the inside--and we usually don't even feel it. That's true for a company or for a person. Life is about change, growth and transformation. Life is about going forward, not staying in the same place or slipping backwards. Life has a message for us--and a blunt one at that: Change or die.

Why do we resist change so much? Maybe because we think change is so unpleasant and so hard--we hear that message all the time. The truth is that it doesn't have to be--we make it more difficult than it is. Change can happen right now. All it takes is a small change--thinking or doing something different that will take us in a better direction.

We might not want to think about changing jobs--so why not start with changing our resume and getting it up to date? We might find going back to college too much to think about right now--but we can handle enrolling in one class. We might think losing fifty pounds is impossible--but we can start taking a ten minute walk today.

Change or die.

Choose change.

 

11 Comments

  1. Dan Black

    Resisting change or growth has been the reason why many businesses and leaders have failed. They become content with the level of success they have achieved and soon enough find themselves behind in the market. Great thoughts.

    ps. Sent you an email with some guest posts for you.

    • Alan Allard

      You are right Dan, resisting change and growth has been the cause of many of us failing as companies or in our lives. And usually we have ignored plenty of warning signs along the way. If we learn along the way, our failures will have value and we will have more successes than failures.

  2. Steve

    The thing that comes to my mind is that famous scripture about needing to change and become like little children.

    When I think of little children, I think of little bodies and minds that are experiencing explosive growth and change. While we may slow down on the outside, we should never slow down on the inside.

    Thanks! Great post!

    • Alan Allard

      Thanks for your comments Steve and good insight about how much we change as children. We are always learning, absorbing, changing and growing. Why stop there?

  3. Rob

    This also points to the importance of keeping what we want in the forefront of our minds and being honest about how we are doing. Often I find this to be the majority of the ‘work’ involved in gaining momentum for change. Thanks for another great post!

    • Alan Allard

      Good point Rob, about being honest in how we are doing. And that's also why accurate feedback is so important.

  4. Randall Walters

    So true, Alan. Reminds me of the book title "if it ain't broke, break it". Change happens as long as life exists. Since things will change anyway, it certainly makes sense to plan for improvements in the future. CPI is a great metaphor for the future consequences of failure to plan for a better future

    • Alan Allard

      Randall, thanks for stopping by. That book title about sums it up, doesn't it? And you're right, if change is going to happen anyway, we might as well learn how to make it work for us.

  5. Frank

    Water always follows the path of least resistance. As I read your blog I thought about how over the centuries water carved one of the most scenic vistas ever viewed on this earth, the Grand Canyon. And like water our sub conscious mind is always trying to bring us back to a static safe place slowly over time eroding many hours of focused attention until one day you look up from watching your feet and realize what a rut you've gotten yourself into and often the rut has amazing similarities to the one you just climbed out of!

    But water can be channeled. When it is, it becomes an unstoppable source of power. As do we when we stop trying to make old patterns of thought fit into new visions of life.

    Thanks Alan for sharing!

    • Alan Allard

      Frank, thanks for stopping by and sharing your insights. I love your phrase here: "stop trying to make old patterns of thought fit into new visions of life."

  6. TJ Trent

    Alan,

    Great post! Adapt and overcome or don't adapt and die.

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