Saturday, March 10, 2012

You say you want an evolution

Change:  there are few words in the human lexicon that evoke more angst than this, both good and bad.

Strange, that.

Change is a constant in our lives.  As constant as the dawn or the sunset.  Every day is different and change is an ever-present aspect of living.

Change is feared because often we are not in control of it, especially in business. Key employees leave, new competitors emerge, customers disappear.  (These changes are in your control, but that's the subject of another post.)
It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin
Change forces us out of our habits.  And habits are a basic human mechanism for dealing with the  complexities of everyday life.
In a recent book, The Power of Habit, NY Times business writer Charles Duhigg explores the science behind why we do what we do (and how.)

From NPR:
Neuroscientists have traced our habit-making behaviors to a part of the brain called the basal ganglia, which also plays a key role in the development of emotions, memories and pattern recognition. Decisions, meanwhile, are made in a different part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. But as soon as a behavior becomes automatic, the decision-making part of your brain goes into a sleep mode of sorts.

"In fact, the brain starts working less and less," says Duhigg. "The brain can almost completely shut down. ... And this is a real advantage, because it means you have all of this mental activity you can devote to something else."
Some habits are highly effective:

Others less so.

Winston Churchill -- quite an effective leader in my book --  is quoted as saying: "Change is good, if it in the right direction."

Here are some simple but powerful changes a business owner can make in his/her own habits to drive change and gain more control over his/her organization:
  • Developing and communicating a “Vision”
  • Creating a “Playbook” to set and prioritize goals
  • Learning to say “no"
  • Delegating more and more effectively
  • Seeking external perspective and accountability
To evolve, the successful business owner must consistently tack (noun: a course of action or conduct, especially one differing from some preceding or other course.)
What's your compass reading today?

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