COLUMN: Strickely Speaking:  Change can be good

In over 30 years of leading others in business, raising two kids, and serving in various communities, there are a few keys to life that I have changed my views on over time.

Asking Questions: 

I have heard it said from an early age that there are no dumb questions.  That statement is not true.  I have heard plenty of dumb questions.  Those questions were not asked to get information but rather to make a point in public.  I have been asked some pretty dumb questions in business meetings over the years.  With that in mind though, I am more convinced than ever that we all need to keep asking questions and learning every day.  When we get to the point that we aren’t asking and learning, we are living off yesterday’s experiences.  I don’t know about you, but I want to be able to add value to others each day for the rest of my life. 

Persistence or Change:

I have also heard early on that if I just work hard enough, things will eventually work out.  I hate to tell, but that’s not entirely true.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am still a proponent of work ethic, persistence, sacrifice, and commitment; however, there are times when that’s not enough.  Sometimes, we need to change the strategy, the plan, or the approach.  There are times when trying something different is the wise move.  Changing the strategy is not admitting failure, but rather just may be a wise move toward success.

Asking for Help:

For years I thought asking for help, admitting mistakes, or acknowledging my shortcomings were a sign of weakness.  I thought if I was in-charge, the final decision-maker, or the parent, that I was expected to have all the answers and to be independently strong.  Through experience, I have learned that I need others.  I need to know when to ask for help, when to admit my mistakes, and when to acknowledge my shortcomings.  Humility leads to credibility, and credibility will enhance one’s ability to influence others.  We all can benefit from a healthy dose of humility.  

Results or People:

I have had an inherent drive to win from an early age.  This drive to win was exhibited in athletics growing up and in business as an adult.  My ability to get results was rewarded and encouraged at work.  However, I eventually learned that results without people being taken care of were not enough.  Results at the expense of people were out of the question.  The relationships we build with people will outlive any business results or monetary gain we can achieve.  Winning still matters, but the definition has changed.  Winning must include people being valued and cared for regardless of organizational expectations.

Those are just four keys to life that I changed my views as I experienced life.  I challenge you to consider how these four keys might impact your life.  We all talk about things needing to change, but sometimes we need to change.