Posts Tagged ‘Change’

In our last post we dealt with situations where we didn’t want to intervene because we questioned the impact on our personal safety of doing so. Now we will look at some situations where intervening and trying to get a person to change their behavior would be safe, but might not be the wisest choice.  We must always ask ourselves if a person’s aggravating behavior really justifies our getting personally involved in a possibly confrontational situation?   Like everyone else, you have a threshold of tolerance for bad behavior by others.  Can you just ignore the behavior this time?  Can you perhaps even use the situation to your advantage later?

Example #1:  You casually mention to a new hire an idea you have regarding cost savings.  You then learn that the new employee took that idea to your mutual boss and presented it as her own.   The boss loves the idea and publicly thanks the new employee for the great idea at the next all-hands meeting.  Assuming it would be safe to confront your colleague about the unethical behavior, should you?  Does the action rise to the threshold for you to confront the person?  Probably not.  Unless it was a HUGE cost savings for the company, you will only appear petty and selfish.  Instead, I would work into the next private conversation with that person, somewhat jokingly, that I am happy to provide additional career – enhancing ideas for her and then watch her reaction.  If she has any ethics at all she will apologize and then she’ll tell the boss that the idea was mine.  And then she owes me a major favor.  THAT debt is worth something in the big scheme of company life!

Example #2:  You are entertaining business clients. A group of 8 people seated near you at a restaurant are noisy and keeping you and your clients from enjoying a quiet evening.  They are often laughing loudly and seem oblivious to the tables of people near them.  Do you:

  • Confront the people and ask them to quiet down because, after all, you deserve a nice dining experience with your business clients?
  • Complain to the restaurant manager and ask him/her to talk to those people?
  • Begin hinting loudly to your clients and colleagues that “some people should consider the effect of their behavior on others nearby”, hoping they get the hint but secretly daring those hooligans to say anything in response.

My first choice is none of the above.  Ask to be reseated elsewhere, someplace away from that group of happy revelers.  They are obviously enjoying themselves (birthday, anniversary party, etc.) and we strongly support low-stress, happy occasions with friends and family.  Either let it go, join them, or move to a different table.   Your business clients will be impressed at your patience, tolerance and flexibility.

Example #3:  You are driving to work, in the right lane of a 4-lane highway and another driver slices into your lane in front of you, a little closer than you are comfortable with.  You didn’t need to hit your brakes but it aggravated you and you honked your horn.  A mile up the road, you and that driver are side-by-side at a traffic light and his window is down.  You want to say to him “Wow, such a nice car and it doesn’t even include turn signals in the basic package”.  You could do that.  But, it is likely to cause the other driver (especially if it is a guy and he is not alone) to confront you.  And once that happens, he will be defensive and your chance of changing his behavior drops to zero.  So don’t even bother.

My response?

  • If the other driver was trying to get over to an exit off the roadway and just didn’t take the time to signal his lane change, and he didn’t really endanger me, I will let it go.  In fact, he may begin a conversation at the traffic light with “hey man, sorry I cut you off back there.  I was about to miss my exit here.”  I have had that happen several times on the road.  And if he had waved to me to acknowledge me or thank me for not hitting his car, then I have no real issue with him at all.
  • On the other hand, if he was just being a jerk and couldn’t care less about me, then my disapproval will fall on deaf ears.  But I want him to know that I saw his stupid behavior and I choose to let it pass.  So at the light, I will look right at him until his eyes meet mine.  Then I’ll smile and look back to the front and shake my head side-to-side in the universal international expression of disbelief.  I make your point, he knows his silliness didn’t go unnoticed, and no words are needed. [Note: In Germany adding an index finger tapping your temple says “you are an idiot” and can cause a fight.]

So let’s assume we have decided we are going to confront someone about their behavior.  We have decided that it is safe, it is worth our involvement and we believe we can (and should) get the person to change.   In the next post we’ll look at some time-tested techniques for getting other people’s attention, building rapport with them and getting them to actually change their behavior so they cause less stress for you!

Copyright: Solid Thinking Corporation

Mack McKinneyMack McKinney is on a personal crusade to eliminate conflict and stress in our lives. Mack’s mantra is “People treat you like you TRAIN them to treat you!” His company Solid Thinking Corporation teaches creativity, concept development, relationship management and high-performance project leadership to major US corporations and the US government
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In our last post we looked at two scenarios where, even though other people were causing us stress, we did not ask them to stop because we could not do so safely.  Here is the last scenario before we move on to subject of “is it worth your time to intervene”?  What would you do here?

Scenario:

A lay-off recently occurred at your company and a week later one of the terminated people comes to the receptionist’s area at the office.   You come back from lunch and walk into the situation.  He is obviously distraught and is yelling about the unfairness of the lay-off he mentions that he now has no reason to live.  You know the guy, he seems harmless enough and you just want to end the disruption his ranting is having on the employees.  He has two young children and you just want to take him next door for a coffee and give him a chance to vent awhile.  Should you ask him to stop disrupting the office and offer a shoulder to lean on?

Answer:  Absolutely not.  Doing so would be unsafe for you and your coworkers.  When he 1)  showed back up at the office and 2) mentioned “no reason to go on living”, he crossed a line.  Anyone who seems unstable, no matter how small or harmless looking, must be considered dangerous even if you know them personally.  Crime stats are filled with disgruntled former employees who return to the company and attack former bosses and coworkers.  Quietly lock the door to the work area, have somebody call the police immediately and encourage your people to leave the area where the guy is screaming.

Something like this actually happened to me twice as a manager at a major corporation back in the 1990s.  The first time was when we terminated a PhD in electrical engineering in my organization.  He was odd, lazy and didn’t get along with our other technical staffers so at the end of his 6 month probationary period, we let him go.  He then called a company manager at home, very drunk, and mentioned that he was thinking of returning to the office with a machine gun and killing everyone there.  He asked to meet the manager and talk about his grievances.  The manager correctly declined the meeting and immediately called our security who called the local cops.  The police went to his apartment and had a chat with him and then his photo and a description of his vehicle were posted at every gate to our facility.  Nothing further came of it and we didn’t press charges.

The second time was during a contract in the Arabian Gulf during the build-up to Desert Storm (aka Gulf War 1).  I was leading a team of 105 Americans working on ships and one of them began acting strangely.  He provided (unarmed) pier security on the night shift (6 PM to 6 AM) to prevent pilferage and he complained to coworkers that when he returned to his hotel room each morning, his belongings had been moved around.  He said that the CIA was routinely searching his room!  Nobody else took him seriously but when he started leaving razor knives on storage crates every 50 feet down the pier “in case somebody jumps me” his behavior started to stress the other workers.

These same coworkers warned me that they considered him mentally unbalanced so I asked him to join me for a friendly, private walk-and-chat.  He told me that, beyond any doubt, the CIA was “after him”.  I told him that, were I him, I would take that as a serious threat and I added that maybe the CIA had him confused him with some other person.  He obviously had not thought of that and while he was pondering the ramifications I told him I thought the best thing we could do was to get him out of the Arab Gulf immediately.  He agreed and was on the flight to Amsterdam the next evening, and then home to California’s Long Beach Shipyard.  In this case, I was forced to intervene with an unstable person because I was responsible for the job getting done and the person’s behavior was stressing the rest of the team.  But always do this gently, with kid gloves. Do not be confrontational.

OK, assuming a person’s behavior is causing you stress and you have decided you can intervene without risking your personal safety.  But should you?  In the next post we will learn some proven techniques for determining what type of stressor we are dealing with and how to then get them to stop stressing us out!

Mack McKinneyMack McKinney is on a personal crusade to eliminate conflict and stress in our lives. Mack’s mantra is “People treat you like you TRAIN them to treat you!” His company Solid Thinking Corporation teaches creativity, concept development, relationship management and high-performance project leadership to major US corporations and the US government
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In the last post we identified five common types of stressful behaviors:  Day Dreaming, Comparing, Time Traveling, Gut Reacting and Grade Schooling.  Before we get into details about how we will change these people’s aggravating behaviors, we want to encourage you to first use some common sense about deciding if you should undertake the task at all.  You are not the behavior police and some people deserve a WIDE berth.  You should only intervene when you are not risking your personal safety and the person’s behavior is so aggravating that you cannot just let it pass and when you think by confronting the person you might actually have some reasonable chance of getting them to change their behavior.

So in every case, for any type of stress-causing behavior other people exhibit, the three questions you must ask yourself (in this order) before you intervene are

  1. Is it safe to confront this person about their behavior?
  2. Is it worth my effort to confront this person? and
  3. Do I have any real chance of changing their behavior?”

The answer to all three should be “YES” before you intervene.  So let’s look at a few scenarios and see if they get past the first of our three criteria for intervention – – – our personal safety.

Scenario #1

On your way to work in Los Angeles, a car full of men in their early 20s, with shaved heads and their bodies covered in tattoos, stops beside you at a traffic light with their music blaring.  The music is deafening and they appear not to even notice the discomfort it is causing in people nearby.  Do you get involved?

Answer: Are you serious?  Just asking them to turn it down could get you shot.  And you have ZERO chance of changing their future behavior.  So control your testosterone boys (women are smart enough to not even CONSIDER intervening here), keep your eyes forward and drive on.  That was an easy example.  Now for one that is not-so-easy.

Scenario #2

You and your office colleagues are standing in line to order at a fast food restaurant.  A guy near you is acting odd— standing too close to you, fidgeting a lot, looking around nervously and mumbling to himself.  He seems to be in a hurry to get his food but his behavior is annoying.  Do you ask him in a stern voice to step back a bit?

Answer:  No.  This guy is possibly mentally unstable or on drugs or both.  Very odd people should trigger a “flee” response in you. I would just walk out of the restaurant, to my car, and wait for him to leave.  Do not confront someone who may be on drugs and/or mentally on a different planet.  Asking him to “give me a little room, please” might trigger a bizarre response.  Don’t become a statistic.

In our next post we will see an all-too-common scenario, the corporate lay-off, and a disgruntled coworker whose behavior  stresses his colleagues.  Would you ask him to stop?  You may be surprised at the correct answer.

Copyright: Solid Thinking Corporation

Mack McKinneyMack McKinney is on a personal crusade to eliminate conflict and stress in our lives. Mack’s mantra is “People treat you like you TRAIN them to treat you!” His company Solid Thinking Corporation teaches creativity, concept development, relationship management and high-performance project leadership to major US corporations and the US government
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We are rarely 100% committed to what we say we want.

I’m assuming that because you are reading this that to some degree you are committed to the concept of bringing spirituality into business. On a scale of 1-100, where would you put yourself in relation to the degree to which you are committed? If you were 100% committed there would be nothing to stop you and you’d be fulfilled in having reached your desired outcome. However, generally speaking, there are underlying or conflicting commitments that create obstacles to us moving forward towards our stated desires.

These conflicting commitments are in alignment to a desire to remain invulnerable and avoid what we consider undesirable. In essence we want to remain secure and stable within our comfort zones. The degree to which we are committed to our conflicting commitment is the degree to which we use avoidance, distraction, procrastination and denial as strategies; this keeps us doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. What occurs is a dilemma, the consequence of which is a feeling of being stuck, confused, doubtful and lost. The bottom line is that we are confounded by the dilemma with which we find ourselves.

Dilemma

I’m prematurely slipping in a D word here, because this is where life gets sticky. How one chooses to be with dilemmas will contribute to the inevitable outcome.

When we distinguish what we are committed to from our conflicting commitment we can see that we are at a choice-point. So, on the one hand we want change; on the other hand we want to avoid the undesirable consequences that accompany change. Hence, we have a dilemma. How do we choose? How do we choose to choose what we choose?

What most of us do, because we are unaware of our choice-making process that has brought about this dilemma, is to compromise our stand for what we say we want, at the same time compromising our stand for what we don’t want. We become professional fence-sitters. If you are interested in creating transformation or a paradigm shift within yourself or your organization it won’t happen by using compromise as a strategy.

What becomes clear as you sit with this dilemma, at this choice-point, perhaps with a thinking partner who can see the bigger picture for you, is a couple of things:

  • First, either choice will require surrendering or relinquishing your attachment to the outcome.
  • Second, the consequence of either choice will mean being confronted by vulnerability and loss of whatever you are attempting to hold onto. This is the nature of cultivating spiritual practices within the workplace. It is an allowing of the unfolding of the natural course of things to occur in service to what you say you want. This is also when the practice of faith kicks in, as you begin to consider the possibility of crossing the threshold, anticipating that first step required of you in order to begin this journey.

What’s at Stake?

What I like about working in corporations is that there is far more at stake for individuals, departments and the organization itself to actually walk its talk. The risk is greater and so is the reward. Not unlike any other institution and group of individuals, there is a culture and that culture has rules – some are spoken and some are not. Always – always we are walking the line between cultivating an environment that supports us and one that protects us. Again, if we are looking for a paradigm shift we have to surrender our attachment to this walking-on-a-fence approach to change and really challenge ourselves to practice acting in alignment with our speaking. What’s at stake will be different for each individual and organization. Generally though, we are afraid of losing what we have.

The distinction between business coaching and transformational coaching is that transformational coaching requires you to step into your commitments; to expand your comfort zone; to confront beliefs, interpretations, expectations and assumption that may not serve you or your organization; and to create a practice within which you exercise muscles that support cultivating consciousness and compassion for yourself and all beings impacted by the current paradigm shift. Transformational coaching requires you to be with the BIG-FAT-BE-WITHS that challenge current interpretations regarding personal gain and loss, as well as death of a way of being that no longer serves the highest good of all. It also requires a different way of choice-making in support of your commitment.

To choose to shift the degree to which you are committed by even one degree is enough to allow even baby steps to be taken towards your desired outcome; it’s enough to empower you to be with the anxiety and discomfort that comes with letting go and letting a higher power provide support, the consequence being that the process unfolds effortlessly. This is where the spiritual rubber meets the three dimensional world.

If Nothing Else

If nothing else, cultivating awareness through the practice of noticing will inevitably create profound shifts. Consciousness generates a greater capacity to change, to create and to generate from an empowered stand. This stand is grounded in a conviction to follow through with intent. It is far more powerful than just wishing and hoping for change to occur. A fascinating phenomenon that is challenging to grasp from a logical/rational perspective is that by intentionally increasing your awareness of what you are wanting, and bringing yourself – your being into alignment with your intention creates a vibrational modification in yourself and your environment. This in itself generates profound shifts beyond your wildest imagination. What isn’t in alignment with that vibrational state will either shift or it will disappear. Transformation at its finest!

Consciousness results in self-realization that we hope will translate into self-actualization. Without acting in alignment with our realization – well, all things will remain the same except for the fact that we know more then we use to. As I said above, if you shift how you are being to be more in alignment with your highest knowing, this in itself is transformational. You don’t have to overtly attempt to change your world or your organization. Just notice, shift and allow. This in itself is bringing spirituality into business.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Rosie Kuhn will be speaking on the topic of “Spiritual Wounding in the Workplace” at the San Francisco New Living Expo, Concourse Exhibition Center, Room #7, San Francisco, April 29th, 2011 at 7:00PM.

Rosie KuhnThis article is contributed by Dr. Rosie Kuhn, founder of the Paradigm Shifts Coaching Group, author of Self-Empowerment 101, and creator and facilitator of the Transformational Coaching Training Program. She is a life and business coach to individuals, corporations and executives.
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Flexible Focus #26: Leveraging your time

by William Reed on November 4, 2010

It is time to refine our vision of time.

Is time a clock, a calendar? Is time an agenda, a schedule? Is time something that we spend, waste? Is time on our side?

Our view of time is heavily conditioned by the language that we speak. If you compare the view of time across various cultures, you find that some cultures treat time as a measured resource, while others seem to measure time by the seasons or rituals, and other cultures view time as a fabric of story and images.

Because our view of time is so closely tied to the words we use to describe it, perhaps it is easier to redefine time as experience itself. We know from our experience that time travels in cycles or seasons. Many phenomena in nature come and go. We also experience birth, growth, and death. Perhaps we can think of time as change itself.

The first step to gaining a flexible focus on time is to free ourselves from the tyranny of a single cultural perspective on time. This doesn’t mean throwing away our calendars and clocks, but rather recognizing that this is not the only way to look at time.

A new kind of action list

The next time you make a To Do list, even as you arrange the items in order of priority, think about how arranging items in a sequential list already assumes that they are separate, and cannot be accomplished at the same time. That is an assumption that you may not want to make.

By arranging your items spatially on a Mandala Chart, you already have a framework that enables you to examine the items in terms of categories and relationships. This arrangement changes not just our view of time, but also of the items themselves. Instead of being a stack of things to do, like an inbox of paperwork, arranged on a Mandala Chart they become factors or variables that can be arranged and multiplied to create various results.

Think for instance of a networking event. How different your experience and results will be depending on the venue, the people, your attitude and purpose in attending.

Therefore one way to leverage your time is to arrange the elements of experience on a Mandala Chart, and to view the elements as variables you can arrange and combine as you like. This is already closer to the way we actually experience things, but you can influence the results and maximize the possibilities by doing it consciously.

Time frames in motion

Another way we experience time is – as frames in motion, such as in movie or video. The frame rate is the number of frames per second (fps) used in video, television, and movies, and it is typically 24, 25, or 30 fps, though some formats 50, 60, or more. A slow motion video of a bullet penetrating a wall may run as many as one million frames per second, slow enough for the eye to follow, but still frighteningly fast.

Many professional athletes and martial artists report seeing things in a slower time frame, as if they had more frames per second, and more time to respond to the motions around them.

Likewise, to a person inexperienced with that type of motion, the ball may seem to come so fast that you don’t even notice it until it strikes you, as if you had fewer frames per second and less time to respond.

At world class levels in sport, the ball may actually move faster than human reaction time could allow for response. The fastest speed recorded in men’s tennis for a serve was Andy Roddick, at 155 mph or 249.9 kmph. In motor sports, vehicles travel much faster than that, and yet with occasional exceptions, drivers manage to maneuver in this time frame. Skill, experience, and flexible perception enable athletes to respond with timing that goes far beyond fast reflexes.

Likewise, you can leverage your time by enriching your experience and deepening your engagement in experience.

Valuing your time

Perhaps the most powerful way to leverage your time is to value it as life itself. I wrote about this in a separate article called Oceans of Opportunity, suggesting that we think of time as a fluid force like water, which can be directed, contained, and channeled. We are all given equal access to this force, but how you use it determines whether you sink, swim, or surf.

If you treat time as a valuable substance, then you will not waste it. If you respect other people’s time as you do your own, you will begin to understand and find ways to leverage time, to save time, and to buy time.

Seasons of Time

One of the best metaphors for time is that of the four seasons, which is familiar even to people who live in climates which don’t have four seasons. The cycle and energy of Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter give us a perspective on time, a reminder of change, of coming and going. Download the SEASONS MANDALA as a reminder.

It is worth reading and reflecting on the verse from the King James Bible translation (1611), Ecclesiastes III, which reminds us that time is everything:

3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

3:2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3:3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

3:5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

3:6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

3:7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

3:8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

This was recorded in the 1960s by The Byrds as Turn! Turn! Turn!, the classic Pete Seeger song written in 1952, and its message is timeless as time itself.

William ReedWilliam Reed specializes in applying practical wisdom from Japanese and Asian culture to solving the problems of modern business and living. He is the author of the Flexible Focus column on Active Garage, the syndicated column Creative Career Path and the book A Zoom Lens for Your life. William is also a Representative Director and Co-Founder of EMC QUEST Corporation, which provides Coaching for Communication and Change, World Class Speaking™, and Accelerated Action with GOALSCAPE™.
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Working Hard – Still no progress?

by Vijay Peduru on August 18, 2010

We all work hard but don’t seem to make much progress. In a lot of organizations, people seem to be praised high for working long and hard, but they never seem to get promoted or get noticed. Why is this. It is because the definition of “hard work” changed. A lot of people still believe in the industrial age definition that hard work is using your “body” to work hard , but if we look at our current situation, the majority of us do work sitting at a desk in front of a computer.

Many people are not aware that we have transitioned to an information age from an industrial age. According to most economic historians, the Industrial age ended about 20Yrs ago in 1989 when the Berlin wall came down and the internet came up.

In the industrial age, working hard meant, using our body and working long hours i.e physical labor . That is how machines worked and humans had to work similar to machines and humans were rewarded for this.

Now though, the majority of us are not working with machines, we are working with computers using our mind more instead of our body. Now hard work means emotional labor.. exerting our mind. Sure, we still work on long hours and weekends, but this is still not working hard as hard work is still translating into long hours. As Seth Godin says ” Hard work meant more work in the past. But the past doesn’t lead to the future.The future is not about time at all. The future is about work that’s really and truly hard, not time-consuming. It’s about the kind of work that requires us to push ourselves, not just punch the clock. Hard work is where our job security, our financial profit, and our future joy lie.

A lot of successful people work the same hours or less than we work, but they are still successful.  They get ahead because they do the new “hard work” As Seth Godin says

“Hard work is about risk. It begins when you deal with the things that you’d rather not deal with: fear of failure, fear of standing out, fear of rejection. Hard work is about training yourself to leap over this barrier, tunnel under that barrier, drive through the other barrier. And, after you’ve done that, to do it again the next day.”

So, the easiest way to do hard work is to love change,train ourselves to love challenges and question the status quo all by using and exerting our mind.

From now on, let us start training ourselves in baby steps to do the new “Hard work” i.e “exerting emotional labor”.

Vijay Peduru is an entrepreneur in the bay area and is the co-founder of a bootstrapped startup. His interests are bootstrapping, leadership and spirituality.
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That Art of getting what you want

by Vijay Peduru on February 22, 2010

Before proceeding .. Please consider reading this Post from Seth Godin.


We all want to succeed in Business, want to get healthier  and we know how to do it… but it doesn’t happen.  Business is helping a group of people (niche) better than anyone else out there ( think Apple’s iphone).  Health is just a change in diet and doing some exercises. We know this , but we still can’t do it. Why? It is because deep down in our brain.. inherited from millions of years ago is our lizard brain which fights for survival. Anything which causes pain it will avoid at any cost.


By the way, we have many different brains.. I like to call them minds. but let us talk about the two major ones.. The Lizard brain and the Possiblities brain. One (Lizard brain) always takes care of survival and reproduction and the other (Possibilities brain) takes care of possibilities . Both are needed. The lizard brain will save us when we cross the street, so we are not hit by the truck. It will save us when we are walking barefoot and see a nail. Fundamentally it will save us from anything that we interpret as “painful”.


The obvious next question is: How do we interpret “painful”? There are two ways.
  1. By instinct.
  2. By our “Past Memories”


In one way,  Instincts are also the “default” memories which come along with the package (you) when we are born. Ever seen a new born chicken running away from an eagle? Or consider when you pulled your fingers when you touched a heat source like a stove.. that is instinct.  Your body by instinct knows that too much heat is dangerous. After this, now you have a memory that you cannot touch a stove. The next time you are near a stove you will “remember” the danger.


The other brain – The Possibilities brain knows deep down you are a born genius and you have the potential to do what you want to do. That is why you dream about things you want like getting rich, getting healthier etc.  fundamentally it wants freedom..


So, anytime you want to make a change like for e.g. if you want to get healthier and you want to change your diet. the lizard brain interprets this as “change” and any change will cause pain which it will try to avoid. How do we get out of this? Simple… by using your “possibilities” brain and changing your interpretation of the situation. Let us take an example to better illustrate this.


Let us say there is a overweight 18 year old boy going to college. If his dad or friends says ..do exercise he “interprets” exercise as boring and painful.  His dad keeps pestering him to do the exercise but he doesn’t do it.  Let us say after a few months this prince meets a beautiful young princess and thinks that she likes a boy who is strong and muscular. He immediately hits the gym and it (going to the gym) suddenly does not occur as painful but in fact, joyful. What changed? The context. At first, the context was “Be healthier” which changed to “I need to impress this princess with my body”.  Now the exercise occurred as joyful.


What happened here is the lizard brain interpreted this as “joy” and not as “pain”.  If you see great men and women, they “failed” a lot of times, but kept going and ultimately succeeded.  This is because they interpreted “change” as joyful and so failure occurred as positive for their “lizard brain” and they could continue.  I agree this may not be the case in all great men and women but fundamentally they made sure that the lizard brain does not come in the way of what they want.. by resisting it by the use of willpower OR by befriending it.


One of the most effective way to overcome the lizard brain is by “befriending it”. Like any good long-term relationship.. issues will arise continuously but as long as we are committed to be friends with our lizard brain for life, it will work out. You can count on the fact that every time the lizard brain senses change, it will get perturbed. At this moment notice it and use your “possibilities” mind , create a powerful and inspiring context and let him know that this change is not painful but a joyful one.


In my life, I recently learned yoga. Everyday my body was aching and I hated getting up everyday to do this. Everyday after the yoga, my pains were more. If fact I quit for a couple of days. Then I remembered the  “context” concept after reading it in the “The three laws of performance” book and hearing it in a class from  “Landmark education“.  I changed my context of “doing yoga for health” to “Spending one hour out of 24hrs with my spiritual teacher”. It shifted completely and my “Lizard brain” interpreted it as a good thing and I haven’t stopped one day from then and I love doing yoga now.


Special Thanks: Seth Godin in his brilliant book “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?” talks about the Lizard Brain. For a brief Introduction to the lizard brain check this post , this video and this short e-book


Your brain would not want to read this book because your lizard brain interprets this as painful. Imagine you had lived your whole life being manipulated by a system without you knowing it. Isn’t it painful… Hey, you are aware of it now. But consider changing your “context”… The “context” is “Here is a book which will show me how to live my life with freedom”
Vijay Peduru is an entrepreneur in the bay area and is the co-founder of a bootstrapped startup. His interests are bootstrapping, leadership and spirituality.
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Should we fear change or embrace it?

by Vijay Peduru on January 1, 2010

ChangeOur natural instinct is to fight change. We always want stability. Our ancestors in the jungle had to be extra cautious about any change in the surroundings  and that instinct still remains in our genes and we fear change. We imagine something bad is going to happen and that is why we fear change.

In the Industrial Revolution, change was slow..  People went to the same factory and almost did the same job and their day was almost the same the whole 40 years of their working life.

If we look at the current reality in our knowledge economy , Change is happening at lightning pace in the world. If we live in this ever changing world and if we fear change. we are stressed every moment. When we are stressed, the side effects are unhappiness and health problems.. Is there a way out.  Yes there is and… it is to learn to embrace change. Like any other skill this can be learnt and can become enjoyable.

There are three ways to learn to embrace change:

  1. Accept that most of the time change cannot be anticipated and we will always live in uncertainties : If we look at it, we cannot stop the change happening in the world, so accept it. Seth Godin in his book “Survival is not enough” talks about the following article he read in the New york times. It explains why most of the time, we may not be able to anticipate change  The title was “What happens when the Jaguars die”
  2. “Jaguars, as it turns out live is Mexico. Their favorite food is rabbits. And when jaguars die(due to encroachments on their habitat by people), the rabbits multiply like , well, rabbits. And when the number of rabbits dramatically increases, the grassland turns to desert. In other words, a small change in the status of one animal ( the jaguar) can lead to millions of acres becoming a desert.

    The ecosystem is very responsive. kill off one crop and entire species that depend on it become extinct–Just like the ecosystem your business operates in. A small change– say the availability of competitive pricing data to your customer base– can have implications for the way your company must run all of its operations in order to succeed”

    There are very few ecosystems which are stable but the majority of them are unstable. So accept that we cannot always anticipate change and will have to accept uncertainty.

  3. Know that we are capable of embracing change: In our workplace or in any endeavor we don’t like, change appears as bad and threatening.. but you change the context – for example, lets say you are planning to go on a vacation… suddenly Change is fun, exploring is fun. mystery is fun. This indicates, that we are capable of embracing change if we decide to embrace it.
  4. Embrace Change: The only way, species in our planet earth survived is by evolving themselves. Seth Godin recommends to to get into the habit of making frequent small changes first, then work your way to bigger and bigger things.  He calls it zooming .. Zooming is about constant change, for no particular reason, and with no particular goal.

Zooming is about stretching your limits by adapting to new ideas, opportunities, and challenges without triggering our inherent human change-avoidance reflex. Zooming is about adapting small changes over time. You can practice zooming in everyday life,  Seth Godin proposes the following five simple things to try in our daily lives.

  1. For dinner tonight, eat a food that you’ve never tasted. Then try another one tomorrow night.
  2. On your way to work tomorrow, listen to a CD from a musical genre that you hate or that’s new to you.
  3. Once a week, meet with someone from outside your area of expertise. Go to a trade show on a topic in which you have no interest whatsoever.
  4. Read a magazine you’ve never read before.
  5. Change the layout of your office.

…or just do something for the first time, as often as possible. Once you master these five steps, you are much more likely to invent five more steps and gradually you will view every change as an opportunity. Companies that zoom do the same thing.

Keep Zooming…

Vijay Peduru is an entrepreneur in the bay area and is the co-founder of a bootstrapped startup. His interests are bootstrapping, leadership and spirituality.
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Quality #11: Driving Change Through Leadership

by Tanmay Vora on November 23, 2009

change through leadershipWelcome to the penultimate post in this 12-part series on QUALITY, titled #QUALITYtweet – 12 Ideas to Build a Quality Culture.

Here are the first ten posts, in case you would like to go back and take a look:

  1. Quality #1: Quality is a long term differentiator
  2. Quality #2: Cure Precedes Prevention
  3. Quality #3: Great People + Good Processes = Great Quality
  4. Quality #4: Simplifying Processes
  5. Quality #5: Customers are your “Quality Partners”
  6. Quality #6: Knowing what needs improvement
  7. Quality #7: Productivity and Quality
  8. Quality #8: Best Practices are Contextual
  9. Quality #9: Quality of Relationship and Communication
  10. Quality #10: Inspection can be a waste if…

#QUALITYtweet Critical question: Knowing that

people will change only if they want to, how do you

make sure they “want” to change?

Process Improvement is a “change” game and implementing change isn’t always easy. In case of process improvement, the challenge is to change habits and behaviors of your people. That makes it even more difficult.

People change, not by “force” but by their “intent”. With force, people may dispassionately comply with your processes, but for true involvement, their intent needs a direction. With this as a given, critical questions are:

  • How do you make sure that you implement change by driving intent of people?
  • How do you make sure that people are passionately involved in change?

The answer to these is “Change Leadership”. Leading a change means undertaking right initiatives, mobilizing resources, addressing soft aspects like motivation, overcoming hurdles and aligning the teams to make it happen. How can change leadership drive process improvement initiative? Here are a few pointers:

  • Accurately define what needs a change: Apply 80:20 rule to identify what needs improvement. It is easy to align people when they know that they are improving the right areas that have maximum business/operational impact.
  • Create a change time line: Humans work best when they work against a time line. We often tend to get complacent when there are no deadlines. Reasonable pressure helps us become more creative. Create a time line by when change will be implemented with a step-by-step action plan. This also creates a sense of urgency.
  • Engage people: People tend to commit themselves to things they are involved in. Involve practitioners and managers in defining the change. They are the ones who will be impacted by the change. Engage them by explaining them the larger context, vision and business need. When they know the larger picture, they can align their actions accordingly. They also need to know the “What’s in it for me?” part. How will they become more effective? How will this change help them improve their performance? They want to know this.
  • Review progress periodically: If you don’t monitor your people, you give them a reason to slow down. Have short and effective meetings (in group or one-on-one) with people involved in change. Take a stock of how things are going. Understand their problems. Help them do better. They get help and you get the broader picture. If you hit some roadblocks, you still have chance to re-align. Review early and often. This is also your opportunity to share progress and motivate people involved in improvement initiatives.
  • Lead: Give them the context and set them free. Micromanagement on tasks can kill creativity and morale. Be there to help them, but let them do it on their own. People learn the most when they try to do it themselves. They will make mistakes. Help them overcome and share the lessons learned. Set right examples for them to follow.
  • Share rewards: when you link participation with rewards, it will help you get voluntary participation from people. But after they have participated, it is only your leadership abilities that will keep them going. You will still have lot of people who will willingly participate.
  • Keep rotating teams: Once a change cycle is implemented, induct new team members in the improvement team. You maximize the opportunities for everyone to get involved in defining improvements. Broader the participation, wider the acceptance of change.

Last but not the least, people engage when they see continuity of effort. If your improvement initiative is temporary or ad-hoc, people will not engage beyond the first cycle. When people see consistent results from a process improvement group, they willingly participate.

Process improvement is a journey and not a destination. Who you travel with matters a lot. Choose the right people and get them to swing into action. Your business will thank you for that!

Tanmay VoraTanmay is a Software Quality Management professional based out of India. He hosts QAspire Blog and tweets as @tnvora. He is also an author of the book #QUALITYtweet – 140 Bite-Sized Ideas to Deliver Quality in Every Project
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Plan C for your business

by Vijay Peduru on October 27, 2009

Big C Armband - yellowA new entrepreneur almost always gets an idea and thinks it is the coolest and the greatest idea. He safeguards it and when someone asks him he would say we are in “stealth” mode.  He dreams of how he would be on the covers of Fortune, Fast Company and Inc when his idea clicks and takes off.  The truth is no one really knows whether the idea will click or not.   About 50%of venture backed firms fail.

So, how does an entrepreneur increase his chances of Success.  He needs to Accept Change as normal and Be willing to Evolve. Nobody can escape change… the way I see it – Either you will confront change OR change will confront you. You choose. The best way is to accept that change happens and take advantage of it rather than be bogged down by it. Humans and a lot of other species on this planet survived and thrived by evolving themselves as the surroundings changed. Similarly, the best companies can survive, if they can adapt with the surroundings and evolve.

We would not have heard about Google, Hotmail or Paypal  if they stuck to their initial Plan (Plan A).  The founders quickly evolved their companies. They tried a business model and if that didn’t work, they changed it immediately and tried another. For Paypal, Plan A to Plan F didn’t work. Plan G as we know today worked marvelously and the rest is history. Google grew and could introduce so many products because it encourages a culture of experimentation and Failure. All these and other successful companies evolved by looking for opportunities caused by change in the marketplace and encouraging change and experimentation within their business.

This can happen only if the team is willing to make mistakes, Learn from it and move on. Our school system has trained us not to make mistakes and view mistakes are failures. This view might prove useful for someone working in a large corporation which has lots of restrictions to change, but for an Entrepreneur, mistakes need to be learned from, quickly, and then move on from.

In the old days, when a missile is fired, it had a fixed destination.. “Ready, Aim , Fire” .  Nowadays, thanks to modern technology, a missile , can be fired and then it’s course can be corrected midway. Tom Peters has a saying that goes – “Ready, Fire! Aim”. It is the same with a business. When we start the business , the business model is different and if it does not work, we correct course as we move.

Get ready to “Ready, Fire! Aim”…


Vijay Peduru is an entrepreneur in the bay area and is the co-founder of a bootstrapped startup. His interests are bootstrapping, leadership and spirituality.
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