We have been going through a period of change as a business to respond to changing customer needs, build on our strengths, develop a new vision and review how we can best help. I have been thinking about how we all approach change differently and wanted to share with you two different examples that I have come across recently.
Paul was a delegate on one of our workshops recently on the subject of advanced communication skills. He is a manager, is very people focussed, already has a good level of communication skills and we were exploring people within the organisation that individuals were finding it a challenge to communicate with.
Paul identified one of his senior colleagues who was a very different personality type to him. He identified some changes that he could make to his behaviour to communicate more in the style that would suit his colleague than was natural for Paul. Then Paul took me to one side and said “I’ve been behaving this way for 40 years, I’m not sure I can change now.”
Compare that with Ann and George who run the bed and breakfast that we stayed in during our recent holiday in America. This is no ordinary bed and breakfast; this is a room in Ann and George’s home on the top of a hill overlooking their vineyard. Ann and George are, warm and welcoming, full of energy and great fun. George cooks the breakfast every morning and they then join the guests at the breakfast table and stimulate great conversation. On a couple of evenings they also invited us to join them for a nightcap.
Thirteen years ago George discovered the vineyard in California. At that time there was no house, no road and no amenities. He had the dream of building a house, on top of the hill for himself and Ann and with plenty of space for visiting friends and family.
They lived in a caravan for three years while the house was being built – with George doing a lot of the work himself. Once the house was finished, they decided that it would be fun to run a bed and breakfast there too.
While we were staying with them, Ann was spending a lot of time working on the garden in preparation for a wedding that they were hosting a few weekends later and they were also planning their next holiday and whether it would be Italy this time.
The amazing thing is that Ann and George are in their eighties and they set out on this journey in their late sixties. Who says it is too late to make changes in your life?
As Henry Ford said “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”
We can always make changes, review our dreams or make new ones both in our business and personal lives. The key is that we have to want to do it – and believe that we can.
Who would you rather be Paul or George?