Not everybody likes change. In fact, there are some who almost rally against it. Even those who like it don’t exactly care for it when the change seems dictated by somebody else.
As a leader you are in the business of change. When you manage you are executing processes and procedures determined to be effective through proper planning. As a leader, you work with others to decide what changes need to occur in order to move your organization forward.
Changing yours or others behaviors isn’t easy. Not everybody enjoys the process. In fact, there are some who go kicking and screaming towards the change you want to see in them.
I had a participant, in one of my leadership programs, tell his supervisor that he’d rather get demoted than even learn how to be a better leader. His desire to not even want to try changing any of his behaviors or thinking reminded me of one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books, Green Eggs and Ham.
In the book, “A character known as “Sam-I-Am” pesters an unnamed character, who also serves as the story’s narrator, to sample a dish of green eggs and ham. The unnamed character refuses, responding, “I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.” He continues to repeat this as Sam follows him, encouraging him to sample them in eight locations (house, box, car, tree, train, dark, rain and boat), all to which the unnamed character refuses responding, “I do not like them here (Current location) or there (Previous location). I do not like them anywhere.” and with three animals (mouse, fox, goat). Finally, the unnamed character gives in to Sam’s pestering and samples the green eggs and ham, which he finds that he does like after all in the end and happily responds, “I do so like green eggs and ham. Thank you. Thank you, Sam-I-Am.” (excerpt from Wikipedia).
Change itself scares people sometimes. They run from it. The initial anxiety and discomfort it causes gives them a feeling that “this can’t be right. It just feels so wrong!” Actually, any type of change can give you a feeling of discomfort. Good or bad. When your trainer asks you to do 5 more push ups than you’ve ever done before, does that feel good? Nope. When you are asked to complete the hardest project at work that you’ve ever been involved in and you have to work until midnight, does it give you a warm and fuzzy feeling while you are sweating it out to deadline? Not so much. The best kinds of change probably aren’t going to feel great when you first try them out. The deep satisfaction will come later – when you’ve mastered the change.
Will you or someone in your office get the Green Eggs and Ham award this week? Give something new a try. You never know, you might like it here or there. You might like it everywhere. You just might like it Sam-I-Am.
As a side note to that, Dr. Seuss may have been eating a little Green Eggs and Ham as he was writing. Here’s the back story:
The vocabulary of the text consists of just 50 different words and was the result of a bet between Seuss and Bennett Cerf (Dr. Seuss’s publisher) that Seuss (after completing The Cat in the Hat using 236 words) could not complete an entire book without exceeding that limit.
The 50 words are: a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.