Part II Twelve Lessons I Learned (or Re-Learned) This Year

Sections of this topic

    This is installment two of a blog series about lessons I learned this year. Most of the lessons were just reminders of things that I learned a while ago, but 2011 served as a year to be reminded of them. Below is a list of three more lessons all dealing with change.

    Lesson Five

    The secret to weight loss is still the same and so is the secret to organizational change. The secret to weight loss (bearing medical conditions) is easy. If you want to lose weight, you need to eat less and exercise more. Feeling healthier can also be a result of eating a nutritious diet filled with lots of vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Dieting often fails for some people because they fail to make it a lifestyle change. Or they get started and don’t see results right away, so they give up. Either way, it takes a lifestyle change to keep it off. It’s the same thing with corporate change.

    If you want to make lasting changes in an organization, you have to change the lifestyle of the organization. For example, if you need your employees to take better care of customers, you have to build customer care into the organization at all levels and within all things. Customer care has to be rewarded, measured, and focused on. It has to be modeled. It has to become a freakoutable (see previous post for more on freakout ables). It has to be so ingrained in the culture that is habitual for all despite who is or who is not looking.

    Lesson Six

    Change brings emotion. Many of us have at some point learned about the cycle of change. The cycle refers to the emotional stages one goes through when change occurs. The emotions include things like fear and denial with the end of the cycle being acceptance. What is missed by leaders sometimes is that people will move through that cycle at different rates. Sometimes the rate is acceptable and sometimes it’s not. When it’s not, we coach. When coaching fails, we make hard decisions. It’s just part of our cycle as HR Pros. Reducing the hard decisions though is where we really bring value to the organization.

    Lesson Seven

    Change brings emotion and emotion and logic don’t live well together. It seems as if this one gets in the way sometimes over and over. Emotion clouds reason and logic. It inhibits our ability to make rational decisions. It is why so often, people say the wrong thing when they are angry or upset. They lose their ability to filter and concentrate on what they need to say. Keeping emotions in check is a skill. A needed skill that may need to be developed for some or may bring the demise of others. Diffusing the emotions of others is also a skill. In my opinion a critical one for anyone in a Leadership or HR role. These skills can be learned and modeled and become part of the culture of the organization as well. Just like losing weight or dealing with any sustained change.

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    Sheri Mazurek is a training and human resource professional with over 16 years of management experience, and is skilled in all areas of employee management and human resource functions, with a specialty in learning and development. She is available to help you with your Human Resources and Training needs on a contract basis. For more information send an email to or visit Follow me on Twitter @Sherimaz.