Doctor Eclectic

Doctor Eclectic
Doctor Eclectic

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Why Change Is So Difficult

I keep a list of subjects I may write about on my BLOG and, for the most part that has proved a reliable source.  However my thought this week on Why Change is So Difficult was drawing on my memory of a sometimes-presenter on NPR, a Sociologist and perhaps, Psychologist who speaks on the Morning Show about once a month, Shankar Vedantam.

Alas my memory failed me, and although he has a longer presentation of imagery and how it affects results in our lives, I’ll draw on my own experience for the subject regarding Change.

I have some experience with change.  In addition to fifteen major moves and about 18 different duty stations while in the Navy for 26 years, I worked for six different companies in the Health Insurance industry, three of which I was terminated from; twice because of M&As and one because of an economic adjustment.  None of them was particularly stressful, most because of a military pension from those 26 years (plus five in the Reserve while preparing for and going to Dental School).

I’ll give you my list of six tools to make Change Acceptance easier:

1.       Anticipate change:  Every industry evolves or dies and we must modify our position or find ourselves redundant at best.  In my case, during the navy I sought increased education and eventually was selected to take a Sabbatical year at the Naval War College.  Contacts and confidence were easy byproducts of that year.  In the corporate world, I took evening classes to eventually get an MBA.  I became self-taught in Windows Office components, and became active in several Trade Association, travelling top several venues to participate in committee work that helped define what was a” Dental Director”, and gained me a reputation as someone who was current and who asked Good Questions.

2.      When change happens be quick to adapt: My second corporate job ended after a little more than a year when the company had to demonstrate fiscal soundness to get Reinsurance from Lloyd’s of London.  My salary was too inviting a target, but the afore-mentioned contacts meant my feel never hit the sidewalk.  I spent my two weeks working with my Assistant to help her met the challenges and this gained the respect of my team and resulted in an extra week’s employment.

3.      Prepare for Change:  Although this may seem similar to Anticipate, the subtle difference is to have a Strategic Plan and develop the Tactics necessary to meet the challenges.

4.      Build on Your Strengths:  We all are unique (didn’t your mother tell you that you were special?)  Just find your uniqueness and develop a plan to fit it positive into your job or occupation.  I believe my strengths include, I write well and do presentations well, so I volunteer for tasks that use those skills.  I am less proficient in delegation and have found it valuable to become a mentor to someone who may replace me someday, assigning them responsibilities that assist both of us.

5.      Develop Confidence:  There is nothing wrong with a realistic assessment of what you have accomplished.  It offers objectivity in assessing your worth.  One of my bosses once told me I should shop m y talents every couple of years to see what others think my worth might be.  My mother passed on the axiom, “He who doesn’t toot his own horn, may go tootless.”  I have always felt that lesson had some merit.

6.      Security: This last was easier for me than most people, with my military retirement.  I moved from that second job to my third with a 20% decrease in salary but within two years was salaried higher than from company two.  My father always told me that if I worked hard and showed my employers value, the money would follow.  I believe this is generally true.  I made a goal to be “debt-free in 2003” and since then have accumulated significant wealth, in a cyclic economy.  I have now retired three times: once from the Navy, once from WellPoint (when they were bought by Anthem) and once from my consulting job with a Medicare Alternative Plan. Now unemployed for the first time since I met my wife some 57 years ago, I still get calls for consulting projects.  They don’t pay much, but they keep me current in the industry, as well as giving my life some purpose.

So, I hope some of this sagely advice will make sense in your lives.  My next Post (which I hope I have not covered in the three year’s data I lost) will discuss what is happening with the Northwest Passage as Global Warming opens the sea lanes.  I think you will find it very interesting.  Please join me.

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