Take Charge of Change

Any suggestions about how to cope better with the rapid change we're experiencing today in the real estate industry?

June 1, 1996

Change has an undeserved bad reputation. Too often we see it as something that happens to us rather than something that we make happen for us.

When was the last time you stepped back, looked at your life and profession, and said it's time to make a change? Why ever be satisfied with the status quo?

Here are four elements I think are fundamental to recognizing the need for change and to effecting and assuring beneficial change.

1. Foresight

Maintain an openness to change and recognize how change can benefit you and how you can grow because of it.

Make a list of key times in your life when you experienced defining moments of change. List the bad as well as the good. Review each one and make a note of what you learned from it and how it affected your life. Are you better off because of it? How many of those moments reflect change you brought on yourself?

2. Curiosity and experimentation

The other day I observed a member of my staff negotiate his way through a glitch with his computer. He tried several possible solutions until finally he resolved it. The key here is that he resolved it because he was curious and experimented. He didn't immediately ask for help or ignore the problem. It's natural for people to transfer their problems to others. Develop a tinkerer's sense of experimentation. Very few of us get curious enough to change things ourselves.

3. Openness to failure

The fear of change is the fear of failure. If your mind-set doesn't permit failure, how will you learn success?

Some would say success is about doing all the right things. I agree, but I'd add it's also about learning all the wrong things not to do. We're human beings. We learn from our mistakes.

I remember reading some time ago that although scientists in the former Soviet Union knew that the type of reactors they were constructing was flawed, they didn't dare admit it to the higher-ups, because that would have meant admitting failure, and that wasn't acceptable. So they kept building themuntil Chernobyl.

4. Encouragement for success

Great ideas unspoken are a waste. Build a reward system for yourself and your staff. Let them know you encourage and appreciate change. Recognizing a problem takes foresight; effecting the changes needed to fix it takes guts. When people go out on a limb---prepared for failure, willing to experiment to achieve the desired results---we should all applaud them.

Remember, change isn't all bad. Often we can use change to our benefit.

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