Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Change Management

It is painful to change.  There I said it.  Part of it is actually learning how to act a different way or how to do something new but the other part is the most difficult about it.  When you change something, yourself, your habits, the way you do something, you are, in effect, admitting failure.  You are admitting that the way you did something was wrong.  You are acknowledging that all the time you invested in how you were doing it was wasted.  It can be a difficult thing to come to grips with.  It can be humbling.  It can also be difficult to comprehend.

I will give you an example.  Mack Brown is the head coach of the Texas Longhorns Football team.  He has had an unparalleled run of success.  He has won more games over the last ten years than any other coach.  But this past season he lost 7 games while only winning 5.  He had a losing record for the first time in over 20 years and the first time ever during his tenure at Texas.  The problem that led to the losing season was pinned by many on his offensive coordinator.  This wasnt the first time.  People had complained for years that the OC was holding back Mack's teams and if he would only remove his friend and hire a competent OC then the Horns would win conference championship after championship.  Mack refused.  He had already spent greater than 10 years coaching with his friend and they had experienced a lot of success.  He then went on to win a National Championship with his friend at OC.  He felt validated for all the criticism that has been previously levied against him and his friend.  Unfortunately for Mack and his friend, the team suffered through sluggish offensive performances for 4 out of the next 5 seasons.  The calls for Mack's friend to be terminated grew louder and louder.  They made it back to the National Championship game but lost.  Mack felt validated again.  Then this season happened and the offense was the worst it had ever been.  Mack had no choice.  He HAD to change.  He fired his friend.

Why did it take Mack so long to see his friend was the problem?  That his friend was not the great OC  Mack believed him to be.  To do so required Mack to admit that he was wrong, that all that he had invested over the last 20 years was wrong, that the people who had been calling for his friend's head were right.  It was too difficult for Mack.  He was blinded by his refusal to admit his own mistake, that he had been mistaken all this time and that change needed to be made.  He refused to see it until he could no longer turn a blind eye to it.  He had to see it this time.  There was no choice.  The pain of staying the same had finally outweighed the pain of the change.  And that is why Mack finally made the decision to let his friend go.  It was more painful to keep him than to move in a new direction.   Mack could not stand to see his team suffer through another season like this.  If another season like that happened again without change, Mack would be looking for a new job too.  No, Mack had no choice.  His desire to win finally overtook his desire to be right.  He made the correct change.

Dont wait until you are in a crisis to affect change in your life or organization.  Evaluate yourself.  Invest in winning not being right.  Invest in doing the right thing not your thing.  Do it now before you experience crisis.  Make the changes that are necessary to win, to be successful.

My motto is I want to actually be right, not just think I am right.  I want to actually win, not just think I am winning.  I do not fear change.  I embrace it.  I am not invested in being "right" I am invested in winning.  I want to win.  I want to do whatever it takes to make it happen.  I am not stubborn about how something gets done, I am stubborn about getting it done.

Until the next time,

Jason