COLUMN: Change Brings Choices

Whether we are talking conference realignments, the transfer portal, or NIL deals in college athletics, the shortage of workers or increased expectations of those workers in the business world, or the polarizing positions in politics, things are changing and likely will be different for the foreseeable future. Change is also impacting non-profit organizations, educational systems, and organizations of all types.

I liked the old Southwest Conference in football, the wishbone offense, and the old bowl game alliances. I liked it when players stayed four years at a school, and supporters knew their team’s players from year to year. I loved Tech’s run through the 1AA playoffs in the mid 1980’s, and when the stadium was filled with students. We weren’t “Division One”, and our facilities
reflected what we were at the time, but it was so much fun!

I also recall the teamwork during my first controller job with International Paper back in the 1990’s. The work challenges were tough but working together with a team of professionals pursuing the same purpose made it not only worthwhile, but memorable. We constantly found ways to do more with little. Although we didn’t have the most modern equipment or the latest technology, we found ways to win and be successful.

Ronald Reagan was president during the 1980’s and seemed to be less concerned about political parties and more focused on addressing issues. Whether you look back and agree with his policies or not, I just recall someone genuinely attempting to bring a country together to address issues.

I could go on, but those memories are all in the past now. Things always change, but the changes we have seen the last few years have been incredible. How we respond to the changes in the various aspects of our lives will ultimately determine not only what we experience, but how we experience life.

As we live through times of incredible change occurring at a rapid pace, there are a few keys to
embracing the changing landscape and making right choices considering those changes.

1. Choose to hold firm to who you are, your purpose, and your potential. It is key to understand this principle for individuals and organizations. While changes in life may alter how we accomplish certain things or the manner that we achieve them, our values
and purpose should remain constant. Also, understanding our potential as an individual or organization will keep us grounded and focused on pursuing our vision and not someone else’s destination based on their capability.

2. Choose to surround yourself with loyal, caring, high character people that are a fit to the culture you want to create or want to be a part of. In a world of people and organizations seeking instant success, many will neglect the value of team and teamwork, but rather seek talent and immediate results. Whether you are running a non-profit, directing a business organization, or coaching a team, consider building a program with a culture that will lead to sustained success. Teamwork still pays off long-term!

3. Choose to use technology to support your purpose and mission, but not be controlled by this technology. Technology is not a destination, but rather it’s a means to help us get there more efficiently. Invest your time and resources wisely here.

4. Choose to embrace the memories of the past and look forward to the excitement new opportunities can bring. Change is not necessarily good or bad. Change just means things will be different. We don’t have to chase after every new shiny object,
opportunity, or latest fad. We also don’t have to remain stuck in all our old ways refusing to consider something different.

Some things need to change, but some things don’t. Regardless, change will continue. The choices we make in response to the changes around us will not only dictate the quality of our life, but those choices will oftentimes impact the quality of the lives around us too. As a wise parent once told their teenager before a Friday night with friends – “Make Good Choices”!