Change, Please

Written By Aaron Weintraub

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Change, Please

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IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PROGRESS WITHOUT CHANGE, BUT MAKING ADJUSTMENTS OFTEN ENCOUNTERS RESISTANCE. CONSIDER THE TOP REASONS THAT PEOPLE RESIST CHANGES WITHIN THEIR TEAM, SCHOOL, OR ORGANIZATION (ASSUMING THAT THE CHANGE IS FOR THE BETTER):

Fear of the unknown

A great synonym for the “comfort zone” is the “familiar zone.” Taking advantage of the opportunity to expand one's comfort zone a little every day will reap immense rewards. Buyer beware: humans are creatures of habit. Not changing comes naturally to us.

Satisfaction with the status quo

We all agree that if something is not broken, do not fix it. However, “broken” can be defined in many ways. Clearly, winning once does not mean that nothing is broken. Perhaps a better definition for broken is “not as good as it could be.”

Resentment

It is often difficult to get the ego out of the way. Sometimes the brain says yes, but emotions shout, “No!” What is right is important. Who is right is not. Resentment can often be nipped in the bud by making the decision making process inclusive. Research shows that subordinates do not have to get their way to feel satisfied or accept change. They simply need to be heard.

Lack of confidence/motivation

The perception is that the cost is too high or the reward too low — what's in it for me? This discussion is only about good change, but just because the change would ultimately be helpful does not mean that everyone knows this. In fact, the future is impossible to know and it is unlikely that everyone concerned will think the change is a good idea. Buy-in comes from effective communication. Great leaders communicate their vision with clarity.

Lack of faith

The idea may be good in theory, but the people involved may doubt their ability to see the adjustment through to its positive end. Change typically involves an initial performance decline before the benefits kick-in and outweigh the costs. It takes confidence to decide to change and faith to see it through.

Fear of failure

We all worry to some degree about not being good enough. The goal is not to eliminate fear, but rather to eliminate fear's effects. It is okay to be scared; it is not okay to act scared. This takes the courage to do our best, one step at a time. When we define success as Coach Wooden does, (“The peace of mind that comes from knowing you did your best”), we can actually eliminate “failure” as a possibility by forming a plan (e.g. pre-performance routine) and executing it as best we can.

If faith and courage both exist in excess, look out world! Continuous improvement abounds.

As you read this article, you were led to think about change at an organizational level. Read the list again, this time thinking about adjustments at the individual level. The list still applies. Great adjustments come from athletes who are paying attention. Here are the specific questions of an Effective Rational Response that they are paying attention to:

What was I trying to do? (answer should be 100% controllable)
What happened?
Why?
What do I want to do next time I'm in a similar situation?
How might I best do that?

COACHING POINT

Teach your athletes to teach themselves. After all, perhaps the best way to learn something is to teach it. Plus, we all would love to have an omnipresent and omniscient coach. This perfect coach would figure out how to push us when needed and hug us just when we need that support to lean on. Someone to know when we are off track and how we can get back to our true selves. Someone to know our mechanics and the game so well that they know the key points and the “non-teaches.” Plus they give us these ideal mechanics in just the right doses at just the right times. They allow us to keep it simple, with a narrow-extemal focus during the action.

This coach is an artist, adept at balancing work with play, aggressiveness with control, a sense of urgency with patience and faith, and trying hard with detached observation. We will play on different teams, but this coach will stay with us always. Who can achieve all of this? There is only one candidate.

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aaron Weintraub Aaron Weintraub holds a B.A. from Emory University (1993) and a M.Ed. from the University of Virginia (2000). He served as an assistant baseball coach for 13 years before starting www.CoachTraub.com, a consulting business whose mission is to over-deliver value on goods and services designed to help you win the mental side of the game. He works with teams and individuals, adding clarity to help them get what they want for their sport. CoachTraub.com also runs camps and clinics and has an online store.Weintraub is the author of Coaches Guide to Winning the Mental Game (Coaches Choice, 2009) and An Elite Athlete’s Manual for Training Mental Skills (self-published, 2011). He lives in The Colony, TX with his wife, Nicole, and their four children.

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