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Notes on Change

The average American reads less than one nonfiction book a year, and 58% of all Americans never read a nonfiction book after high school.

The one constant in our fast-paced world: change.  The ability to harness the awesome power of change makes the crucial difference between people and companies who merely survive and those who achieve great success, today and in the decades to come.

Skill of flexibility.  In every human interaction, the person with the most options available to him or her will prevail!

They’re using yesterday’s solutions to cope with today’s challenges, and it’s not working.  They’re a perfect example of the classic definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

All the things that should never change (community pride, hard work, contribution, honesty, fairness, integrity, team spirit) were a way of life.

Other people and companies were being left behind by change, and the quality of their lives and business decreased as a result.

Beginning to see that the same set of skills that worked well for you yesterday may not work tomorrow.

Or are you going to learn to use change to your advantage?  Will you be able to anticipate change and ride its waves to a better life?  Will you become someone who actually creates change, a leader in the next millennium?

Change mastery: the ability to utilize the power of change to improve your personal and professional life.

Change masters utilize change to create the future they desire and deserve!

The meaning we attach to an event determines our reaction to it.

Do you feel you can control your own destiny in your company or industry, or are you at the mercy of outside forces beyond you control?  Are you optimistic or pessimistic about your professional future?

Your beliefs about change, which direct your view of your changing world, determine how you feel and what you do in response to change, and set in motion the results you ultimately get.

Only you know where you are now and where you want to go in life.

The six fundamental ways people use to deal with the changes they encounter in their lives.


  • Avoidant people don’t even look at the external changes in their lives
  • Avoiders isolate themselves from the world and let life pass them by



  • Resistant people struggle against change and usually get upset in the process
  • People who resist change usually create an enormous amount of pain for themselves and the people around them
  • And all too often resistant people just don’t want to change anything – period.



  • Apathetic people either don’t care about what’s going on or feel helpless to do anything about it.
  • They complain a lot and do little.



  • Reactive people wait for external change to occur, then react by making internal changes to accommodate the circumstance.
  • This means they’re always one step behind.



  • Anticipatory people actively look into the future, use all their knowledge to make an informed guess about what’s going to happen, and make proactive changes that will enable them to stay ahead of external change.



  • Creative people make change happen, and then the world changes in response to them
  • All great leaders are change creators.


The avoidant and apathetic approaches are passive.  They may seem safe at the time, but in the long run they are the most dangerous of all because they lead to the world passing you by while you sit on the wooden bench of life, complaining about the splinters!

With the resistant approach, you are active but in the wrong direction.

In the long run, the majority of changes occurring in the world today will be beneficial to most people.

News of any significant change is spread around the world almost instantaneously.  This has created a rapid increase in the pervasiveness of change.

The information supply available to you doubling every five years is strong evidence of this increased speed.

The greatness of any society is based upon its ability to change for the better – to use change as a tool for growth.

With new technology, quality can be improved, costs can be reduced, and often fewer people are needed to do the work.

Rapid communication not only spreads change more quickly, it’s the catalyst that ignites the innovative spirit in those who can utilize the technology.

A huge demand for consumer goods occurred at the same time there was a limited supply. So people bought whatever was available, regardless of quality.

Due to this overabundance of products, consumers began to demand higher quality at a competitive price.

Demographics refer to the age, income, education, sex and other social characteristics of a population; psychographics refer to the opinions, values and emotions that drive behavior.

Harry Dent’s fascinating book, The Great Boom Ahead, details the effect Baby Boomers have had and will have on the world economy as they age.

Nike is in the lifestyle business.

Baby Boomers have a lifestyle that is more accepting of change.

The psychographics of Baby Boomers have been and will continue to be one of the primary determinants of world opinion and economics for a long time to come.

The changes occurring in today’s Communication Revolution are as sweeping as the changes of the Industrial Revolution.

Change is much more likely to flourish in countries that provide the freedom for change to occur.

The world has the tools – the human resources, natural resources, educational systems, business and communication infrastructures, and technologies – to create rapid and life-enhancing change.

The Baby Boomers’ peak spending years extended from 1993 to 2007.

Knowledge alone is potential.  Knowledge put into action is power!

The great truths are self-evident.  They’re a part of our being – we just know they’re right.  These principles can be buried by life’s experiences, but they will always pop up again.  They can be pushed against, but they will always win in the end because they are right.  They can be interpreted differently, but their power is not lost in the variety.  They can be ignored for a time, but life will always give you a wake-up call.Beliefs are human inventions based upon our experiences and what we’ve been told about the experiences of others.  Principles are universally held and are independent of an individual’s experience.  The closer your beliefs match universal principles, the more accurate and useful they will be.

A strategy is a unique set of actions designed to achieve a specific outcome.  Strategies are situation-specific.

The more your strategies are based upon universal principles, the more effective they will be.

HONESTY – How many ways did I tell the truth today?  Did I stand up for what I believe?  Was I honest even if it was painful or inconvenient?  Did I excuse myself for telling a “social” or “white” lie or for withholding information I knew should have been presented?  How was I honest today with myself and others?

SERVICE – Did I give excellent service to all my customers today?  (Your customers include your teammates at work, your business customers, your family, and your friends.)  How did I serve all those I encountered?  How could I serve more?

INTEGRITY – Did I do what I said I was going to do today?  How did I keep my commitments to myself and others?

CONTRIBUTION – How did I give to an individual or a group today, especially when I didn’t have to?  How did I make the world a better place to live today?  How did I make people feel better and do better because of their association with me?

GROWTH – Was I able to spend some time today in the process of self-improvement?  Did I read, watch educational television or videotapes, or listen to educational or inspirational audiotapes?  What did I do today tohelp myself grow?

VITALITY – How healthfully did I eat today?  Did I exercise?  Did I breathe deeply?  Did I avoid food and situations I know are not good for me?

The main factor that contributes to the success of corporations through time:  “A strong core ideology,” defined as the core values and purpose upon which the company was built.

The habit of helping others is the natural result of internalizing the universal principles of service and contribution.

When our lives are based solidly upon unshakable, powerful principles, it’s much easier to deal with any changes that might occur, because we know there are some things that never change.

A habit is nothing but an action that’s been repeated through time, a result of built in cues that trigger the action and built in rewards that reinforce the action.

“Everybody is a prospect.  I can be of service to anyone.”

“They’re going to be glad we got together.  Maybe my future clients aren’t going to want to meet with me at first, but after they get to know me and see the services I provide, they’re going to be glad we met.”

The beliefs you choose must be based upon unalterable principles that will keep you on course no matter what.

You must create the outcome you desire in your mind before you create it in the real world.

Those comfortable with change: Whenever they experience a change in their personal lives or businesses, they immediately think, “What are the opportunities here?”

Rapid change levels the playing field because it demands intelligent, quick, unique anticipation, and reaction.

More people became millionaires in the U.S. during the Great Depression than almost any other period in our history.  Times of challenge can also be times of tremendous growth for anyone who looks for and seizes opportunity.

When things change, I must change.

There is always a way to use change to my advantage.

There is a life lesson to be learned from every change in my life.

Valuable life lessons are learned by using the changes that are intentionally placed in your path.  It’s up to you to determine what that lesson is and learn from it by responding appropriately.

Two part change process:

Part A – Communication.  You must know what’s going on.
Part B – Control.  You must believe you have some control over how events are affecting you.

If Part A is missing, you’re uninformed and what you don’t know can hurt you.  If Part B is missing, you feel helpless.  Numerous studies have shown that feelings of helplessness cause people either to shut down or to resist change actively or passively.

But you can always control the way you respond to change, both in how you feel (emotions) and what you do (behaviors).

It’s especially important to make people active participants in the change process when you’re leading group change.

In order to take care of our existing clients and bring in new business, we’re going to have to look at everything we do in a whole new light.

We can’t just depend upon client referrals anymore; we’re going to have to be much more proactive.

Definition of strategy: A unique set of actions designed to achieve a specific outcome.

When you use the right strategy, you know 1) what you’re doing and 2) how to do it.

To succeed with change, you need both a positive belief and an effective strategy.  You need to be both confident (believe in what you’re doing) and competent (know what you’re doing).

There are two kinds of strategies: mental strategies and physical strategies.  A mental strategy is a set of steps you go through in your mind to achieve a particular result.

A physical strategy is concrete set of actions you take to achieve an outcome.



Life is too short to make every possible mistake yourself.  The quickest way to learn the strategies you need to thrive in our rapidly changing world is to model successful people.  With modeling, you

1. Identify an outcome you want to create.
2. Find people who have already created the same outcome in their lives.
3. “Pick their brains” to discover the specific strategies they used to achieve their outcome.
4. Put those strategies to use in your life.

As powerful as modeling is, it’s important to remember that it will only get you to the point your model was at the time you modeled them.



Walt Disney defined plussing as improving your personal life or business a little bit every single day.  The difference between excellence and mediocrity can be a very fine line.

Think about it.  Is failure usually one cataclysmic event?  Rarely – more often than not, failure is created by a few errors in judgment repeated every day.  After a while, these errors compound to create failure.



Plussing is improvement by evolution.  Innovation is improvement by revolution!

What chance do you have to innovate if you depend exclusively on how things were done in the past?

Innovative people ask innovative questions.

As you may have noticed, using the words what if is a great way to start innovative questioning.  What if automatically directs you to think outside the box.

Ask the following three questions on a regular basis.

What if I could __________?
What if I didn’t have to ______________?
What if I could _____________ and __________________?

It’s also important to remember that not all (or even most) innovative ideas work out. Innovative people accept this and embrace “failure”; innovative companies realize this and encourage lots of well-intentioned “failures.”

In reality, things never stay at the same level – they’re either getting better or worse.



In times of rapid change, you may occasionally need to reinvent as well.  Reinvention is the dismantling and rebuilding of your business or your personal strategies.

Re-engineering as “the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical, contemporary measures of performance such as cost, quality, service, and speed.

Take a close look at the word action.  It’s composed of three smaller words – act, I, and on.  When you rearrange these three words, you will discover the true essence of the word action – “I act on.”  Action is the link between your resolutions and the realities they spark.

Where would you end up if you could be on a roll consistently from this day forward?  The emotions that drive your behavior are what I call driver states.

The ability to manage your own and other people’s states is a vital key to your personal and professional success in our changing world.

Moral: As you do a task, focus on what you’re doing.  After you’re done, you can focus on how you did.

A clearly defined outcome is the destination you want to achieve, and processes are the bricks that make up the path to the destination.  When your destination is clear, it’s relatively easy to lay the bricks in a pattern that creates a direct path.

It’s crucial that you have specific and measurable outcomes in your life and your business.  It’s equally critical that you know exactly where you are right now.  Then you can create the processes to get you from where you are now to where you want to go.

Learn from the past.  Learn from both positive and negative experiences.

All anxiety and fear are nothing more than an inappropriate use of our ability to imagine the future.

Focus on limitations and problems 2% of the time, and on resources and solutions 98% of the time.

Motorola calculates it earns $33 for every $1 spent on training.  Do you put the same value on your personal training program?

You, too, need to be unique in today’s marketplace.  You need to have the principles, habits, beliefs, and strategies that make you stand out and influence people to want to employ you, work with you, or buy your products or services.

Questions are the easiest and best way to direct your own or anyone else’s mental focus.

I believe questions work even better than affirmations in directing mental focus and initiating action.

If you don’t like the answers you’re getting in life, learn to ask better questions.

Questions are essential tools that direct how we use our brains.  Outstanding people ask outstanding questions.  Creative people ask creative questions.  Unusual people ask unusual questions.  Innovators like Albert Einstein ask innovative questions no one else is asking.

To get different results in your life, you must ask different questions.

Ask people the questions that will get them to tell themselves the answer you want to hear!

The bottom line when asking questions is this: Know exactly where you want the other person’s mental focus to go, then ask a question that will produce that focus.  Work backward from the focus you want to create.

In early 1994, when Microsoft was at the top of its industry with record earnings, Bill Gates announced a massive reorganization of the company.  He knew the systems, processes, and strategies that had taken Microsoft to the top would not keep it there.  He was smart enough to change before he had to.

You, too, will need to master the art of anticipating change.  The secret to successful change anticipation is the ability to look at the bigger picture.  You need to be able to spot patterns of change: the directions in which your life, your business and society as a whole is headed.

Trends are definite, long term (three years or more), and predictable directions in which a large segment of society is headed.  Trends are not fads.  Fads are short-term (one to three years) changes in the behavior of a subgroup of our society.

To spot a trend, you need to identify changes in behavior in a society through time.

To spot patterns of change which are likely to become trends, you must first be observant of the changes in society around you, and then use your common sense to identify which of these changes are likely to grow into trends.

The second pattern of change you will want to be able to identify is a progression.  Like trends, progressions are directions; but while trends are directions in which society or a large segment of society is headed, progressions are pathways that people, products, companies, etc., tend to take over the course of their lifetime.

The third pattern of change is a cycle.  Cycles are series of recurring events.

To stay one step ahead of life, you not only have to recognize patterns of change – you also have to utilize them.

Being knowledgeable is the first step in anticipating change.

To accurately spot patterns of change, you should be both an expert in your field and a student of general knowledge.

Go to unusual places.  That’s where unusual ideas are found.

To receive answers you’ve never gotten before, ask questions you’ve never asked before.

When people are actively involved in the change response process, they will react more resourcefully than if the process is just “dumped” on them.

Communication is the first component of active participation.  Communicate early and often, in a variety of written and spoken forms.

People need to know what they should no longer be doing (what’s lost) and what they should continue to do (the things that are staying the same).

Remember, Stage One is designed simply to help your team let go of the old ways of doing, thinking, and feeling.  If you’ve done your job right, at the minimum everyone should feel that they personally, along with the entire team, are a part of the process of change.  They should feel their concerns have been addressed, their voices have been heard, and everything possible has been done to manage the process of change successfully.  Then they will be ready to let go and look positively toward the future.

It’s important to make sure that there are goals and rewards at every stage of the transition so people can feel a sense of progress and personal accomplishment every step along the way.  You may need to provide appropriate training to give people the additional skill they need to succeed in this challenging time.  It’s an investment that will produce big rewards for your team in the long run.

When people feel involved, they feel invested.

Your people will also want to know what’s in it for them.  Tell them!  Make sure they know the specific rewards these changes will bring and how rapidly you foresee these rewards accruing.

Today, your only real competitive advantage is your ability to learn faster than other people.  Constant and rapid learning is necessary to move ahead in today’s business world.  There’s another, equally vital personal reason to be a lifelong learner: People are happiest when they’re learning and growing.

One of the best ways to be motivated is to get associated to what you’ll lose if you don’t learn and grow, and what you’ll gain if you do.

You and I make time for what is truly important to us.

I’m asking you to invest at least four hours a week in learning and growing in ways that will make a difference in your life.

The amount of time I am committed to invest in learning and growing is ____________ hour(s) per week.

Your only sustainable advantage both personally and professionally is your ability to learn faster than your competition.

The amount of money I am committed to invest in learning and growing is $__________ per year.

If you read only one nonfiction book a month, you will be in the top 1% of adult learners.  If you read just one nonfiction book a week, you will have read five hundred books in ten years, which will put you in the top 0.1% of adult learners!

The average person spends five hundred to a thousand hours in his or her car every year.  This equates to 12.5 to 25 forty-hour work weeks.

I recommend you attend at least three days of live trainings every year.

The information supply available to you doubles every five years!

In 1950, 73% of the employees in the U.S. worked in manufacturing or production.  In 1994, that figure was less than 15%, and it will drop even further in the years ahead.  Most new jobs in the future will be in collecting, processing, and communicating information.