Be Willing to Change

| Jan Lehman

In my experience as a Productivity Coach, one common link I find among the most productive professionals is their willingness to change. Most people don’t enjoy the process of change. However, if you’re willing to take the risk, the benefits are limitless.


If you’re reading this, you’re seeking ways to improve your performance, manage time more efficiently, produce more valuable and meaningful work and ultimately have more time doing what you enjoy with the people you love. If you’re not currently accomplishing those things, the missing ingredient is change. The current state must change in order for the results to differ. It’s not my opinion. It’s science.

Signs that its time to change

When business is slumping

There are many good reasons to change, just as there are many types of change (logistical, behavioral, procedural, organizational). Most often, we associate a need for change with a slump in productivity. Here are some signs productivity could be better by implementing changes:

1. Work Is Not Getting Done. This one speaks for itself but could have roots in time, technology or talent. Review Defining the Issue. 2. People Are Discontent, Bored or Disengaged. Perhaps this is a sign that some high performers are not maximizing their potential. Lack of challenge and engagement are real reasons why companies are losing quality employees.
3. Excessive Overtime is Occurring. Do people have too much work, or are they focusing on the wrong work? This is a good time to evaluate if the talent is appropriately aligned with the tasks.
4. Mistakes Are Made Repeatedly. If the same mistake is being made repeatedly by multiple people, it’s not the people. It’s the process. Time to update the process and possibly integrate new technology.

When business is thumping

Change doesn’t just happen when things are going wrong. The most successful people are willing to make changes when things are going right, too. Here are some examples of opportune times to initiate changes to complement high performance:

1. Business Is Good. Changes that occur when business is going well include, hiring new employees, creating new positions and possibly changing locations to accommodate the growth.
2. New Advances in Technology Occur. There’s always a learning curve when new technology is introduced, but anything that makes the job more efficient results in employees feeling more satisfied and less frustrated.
3. New Employees Are Starting. This is a great time to implement new processes. A new person isn’t attached to potentially bad habits of the past.
4. The Industry Is Doing Well. If the industry is doing well, this is a great time to network. Reach out to colleagues in other organizations and share best practices.

Obstacles to change


One of the biggest obstacles to change is the adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Many companies I work with express this as an obstacle, as many of the “old dogs” are the people who hold the power to change. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not implying that all older adults are resistant to change. I do, however, see the connection often, and know that it can be a difficult obstacle many organizations face.

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Here are a few reasons “old dogs” are resistant to “new tricks”. Keep in mind, these could apply to people of any age.

1. It’s the way it’s always been done. Often times, they are the founder or have been with the company from the beginning, and it can be an emotional process to see major changes occur.
2. Technology is intimidating. This can apply to people of all ages, but particularly impacts those who didn’t grow up with technology and have had to learn on their own as adults.
3. Differing values. There is often the belief that if it’s not hard work that it’s not valuable work.

Leadership Support

Getting those that hold the power to understand they have the power to make the biggest impact on the business is an obstacle many organizations face. Necessary changes may be obvious to many, but unless the leadership team agrees to participate, implement and maintain the changes, they surely will not be lasting.

Working through the process of change

Change is a complex aspect of optimal productivity. Not only does it involve detailed evaluation and scrutiny, but it also involves assessing individuals at a personal level. If you’re dealing with major changes in your organization, the best way to reach your goals, achieve maximum productivity and maintain employee engagement and satisfaction is to get help. Don’t let fear of change be the wall to your success. Take risks, question everything and embrace change as an opportunity to be who you want to be in your career and in your life. Read more of Jan’s blogs at Also hear Jan speak at this year’s PWH® Leadership Summit!