Wednesday, March 03, 2004

On Pain and Change

In an invigorating conversation this afternoon, a colleague in another company and I wondered aloud "what is it that causes one to initiate change?" To make any process improvement requires doing something different. And, if we are to be about process improvement, how do I, as a catalyst for such improvement, initiate such a change?

We realized as we talk that most change seems to stem from some pain. Some undesired feeling or event that is worse than making the change. Two personal examples:

  • I started flossing my teeth regularly right after college when I had my first job and was paying all my own bills. No dental coverage at the time, though and a mouthful of cavities. "If you flossed, you wouldn't be in here," was the fact put at me bluntly by the dentist in beautiful San Bernadino, California. And, seeing my small paycheck made even smaller by repeat payments to the dental office, I decided that flossing wasn't such a dumb idea after all.
  • I began this blog when I realized that I added clarity to my thinking about lean and about business by writing. And, by writing in "public" was far less painful than just "wondering" in private. So I took the plunge and, 2.5 years later, still write, still value public discourse in this venue.
So is pain necessary for change? Do you have examples? Can you assist the effort to understand this a bit better? If you do, post a note in the "comment" section below or email me directly. I'll write more on helps me learn.

I hope this is helpful.

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