Dear Manager,

These are challenging times for American business. Everyone from the independent retailer to the largest corporation is feeling the pressure to change. Similar to childbirth, perhaps we’ve survived change by choosing to forget how painful it is! However, we must absolutely remember that change is simply a cycle of “routine business.” More importantly, change is a cycle of OPPORTUNITY for all American businesses: the opportunity to rise once again to the occasion.

I believe that if we approach these cycles of change from an objective perspective, most of us would (grudgingly?) admit that they’re often “even good for us.” If we’re willing to admit that, why, then, do we automatically greet each cycle of change with, “Geez, how many more times do I/we have to go through this?” You know what, we have to do this as many times, and just as often, as the competitive markets demand it of us.

Routine as we know it no longer has a place in business. In today’s climate, evolution and change have, in fact, become the new routines. Failure to support positive and productive change works contrary to the fundamentals of an entrepreneurial spirit, and the very foundation of American business. Though many will ultimately embrace change, we must equally accept that a positive approach to change will not be accepted by all.

Those fighting tooth and nail for the status quo often do so for no other reason than to stay within their comfort zone. This is certainly a very strong human characteristic, and I’m not suggesting that change comes easily for the rest of us. Our pragmatic self, finally, has come to understand and accept it. Don’t misunderstand, we’re not talking about change for “change’s sake;” we’re addressing the opportunity change brings “for our own sake.”

In order to maximize the opportunity for positive and productive results, change must be approached objectively. Failure to do so insures all potential will be lost. There will always be those (often with outspoken, commanding voices) who choose to “check out” even before the process has begun. These individuals are likely looking for reinforcements and safety in numbers. Certainly this is not a very creative option.


Others will voice their overwhelming support for change, but only on their personal (and potentially self-serving) terms. I’m convinced that change takes on a personal perspective for many. I’ve seen individuals flaunt their commitment for change only to make a half-hearted effort toward its ideals. I think we all know what a half-hearted effort consistently produces: half-hearted results. While they may expound upon the virtues of formidable change, a closer look reveals window dressing.

Change orchestrated by amateurs with limited inspiration carries a significantly greater risk than having made no change at all. Yes, there is risk in “staying the course,” and there is risk with “creating change.” The key is in your own ability to quantify the greatest potential for the greatest risk at hand. Begin by objectively re-evaluating your current and long-term goals and the options now available. In the very least, all parties deserve an open and unbiased forum.

All parties owe it to the body as a whole to review in equal parts both the vision and the players in preparation for their own evaluation for change.


If you’ve accepted that change can be productive, you must first consider the “vision” to accomplish this task. Is the inspiration behind this change consistent with the current evolution in the marketplace? Does this new objective inspire and renew you? Finally, and perhaps most significantly, is this a concept you can personally endorse and sell as if it were your own? These are the key elements of sound and productive change.


The capacity for ones vision is no stronger than its ability for successful execution, period. Ask yourself if your success is consistent with the needs and the eventual success of those implementing the change in strategy. If the objectives are consistent, implementing the vision holds the checks and balances to motivate all parties’ participation and performance.

If this is the case, you must also ask yourself if the “players” deserve the benefit of the doubt, even if you don’t fully understand all the details of the plan. Remember, only an acceptable initial vision (executed effectively) is necessary to proceed; clearly a strong vision executed by the best possible players is your ultimate objective.

Now comes the fun part. This is where you get to “join in.” When all hands are on deck, the true potential for change can be realized. What improvements can be made in the strategy to enhance its successful conclusion? How might you personally participate in the execution to guarantee its success? What elements of second-generation initiatives will build upon the newly created foundation?

Finally, and most importantly, you must decide if you’re going to be an enthusiastic participant of the solution, or find an effective alternative, establishing your new role. You know, you just might find that some of the reluctant individuals have secretly become intrigued by the potential for collective success. Now’s the time to come together and create a collective voice!

Yes, change is taxing. With the proper vision, the right players, and a collective voice, change can become your “new best friend.” Difficult times strengthen, teach, and restore us. Change challenges our depth of resolve, our bonds, and can produce the most satisfying of personal rewards.

It seems to me that these are exactly the same motivations that convinced us all to go into business in the first place.

Personal Regards,


INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2011. Duplication of this publication is permitted for both personal and business use. Excerpts may only be quoted with acknowledgment of INTERPERSONAL/INTERPERSONALBIZ.ORG as the source. For re-publication rights, please contact the editor at KEENAN@INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM