January 12, 2009

The Human Side of Change: Thinking for a Change

Thomas J. Watson, Sr., the founder of IBM, used to share his vision of a changing and improving organization with a sign that read, THINK. Today, that call to excellence and action is a call for change that echoes across America.

A big part of the human side of change starts with awareness. That awareness should be the natural outgrowth of the combination of logical and sequential thinking as compared to holistic and emotional thinking. Logical and sequential thinking takes shape in the left brain while the holistic and emotional approach is a right brain process. Combined and balanced the whole brain approach to change through awareness is the natural first step.

What do you think? Or should the question be, “Do you think?” Now, don’t take that as an affront or an insinuation. It’s just a question to make you think!

Thinking is part of the change process. It takes work to think. Unfortunately, most people think about working, rather than work at thinking. Read that line again, and then let’s move to the next one. That doesn’t say you are that way. But honestly, think about it.

How much time do you devote to thinking on a daily basis? Most of us (that includes me) get into deeply ingrained habits (that’s a nice way of saying ‘ruts’) that require no thinking at all. We mindlessly go about our daily routines without a conscious thought about what we’re doing.

When was the last time you thought about the route you travel to work? How long has it been since you really considered your daily routines starting with the time you wake up and what you do in the first 30 minutes of the morning? Have you given any deep thought to the possibility of a better office arrangement, a different daily schedule, and a change in your diet or exercise regimen? What would happen if you changed some of the people you associate with regularly?

It takes discipline to think. It forces us to really evaluate, to honestly question what we do and how we do it. But isn’t that where innovation and improvement begin? When we become smug, complacent and mentally lazy we are doomed for failure, possibly disaster. Why does this happen? We all know better. But do we do better? The human side of change begins with an awareness of our own habits, our own weaknesses and our own strengths.

We can think, and we do think, if we want to think. Thinking deeply, logically and holistically will begin to open new horizons of opportunity for change and personal growth. This ultimately leads to success and happiness in all of our endeavors both personally and professionally. Thinking develops your awareness and that’s the first step in the human side of change. What do you THINK?

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