I’ve heard that the definition of an optimist is a person who does the same activity time after time, but expecting (or perhaps hoping for) better results. 

Being an optimist is similar to the person who keeps hitting his head against the wall because it feels so good when he stops. The optimist and the person with the massive headache are resistant to change, yet they want or need better results and don’t know how to go about improving.

Clearly neither approach to making things better is having the desired effect, and in order to get those better results they have to change their method of going after them. Maybe they need to become pessimists and tell themselves, “This just isn’t working. I better change my methods and maybe then I’ll get the results I want.”

Managing change is learning to understand how to analyze the way they are currently doing the task, measure the results and then consider all the variables and possibilities that can possibly obtain the desired results.

A warning: At this stage there is a tendency to want to make sweeping changes, starting with the veritable “clean sheet of paper” and often this is an invitation to chaos. Changing many facets of the task all at once doesn’t allow for discovering which changes make a marked improvement or which are actually counterproductive. Usually, the improvement doesn’t happen because there is no way of measuring effectiveness of each component.

The only way to discover what works is to try different methods, one-by-one, and measure the results. Integrate the successful activities, those that improve the process into the larger task.

If you need to improve — and don’t we all? — stop banging your head against the wall, stop doing the task the same old way. Start analyzing, start innovating and start integrating the parts that work better for your business.

In time, the positive results will be there and that feels a whole lot better than that massive headache.  

Larry Galler specializes in coaching owners of small businesses to grow their business through effective marketing, customer retention programs and systemizing their business practices. Explore how he can help you during a free coaching session by calling (219) 464-9463 or e-mail Larry@LarryGaller.com. Need a free assessment to measure your 'Culture of Excellence'? Just send an email to Larry@LarryGaller.com. Put “Excellence” in the subject line. Visit his website at www.OneYearToGreatness.com.