There is a word in our language that tends to get quite an emotional reaction when that word is used to offer solutions to the problems of others. Now many of you have immediately gone to the phrase “Shut up, sit down and listen!” but that is not a word, it is a phrase. A phrase that is highly underused these days, but a phrase none the less. What is it with you people? I clearly stated a “word” yet you default to some fantasy phrase where others could actually appear willing to do what you ask of them?
Let me start again. There is word in our language that is so attractive, that even that newly hired, sultry girl in accounting who violates the loose definition of business casual, struggles to compete with its allure. The word is Change. “Change” is not only a noun, it is a verb. Most appreciate the noun form of “Change”, but few like the verb form, because we remember from our early school days, that many verbs require action.
Some forms of change are easy. Changing lanes on the highway for example, is so simple most of us can do this without ever indicating the intent of this change to our fellow drivers. I suppose change is such a personal thing we prefer to keep these sporadic decisions of change to ourselves. The honking of horns all around you on the highway, can be interpreted as a signal of overwhelming support in your personal desire to change.
Change is everywhere folks, and it’s difficultly is hard to ignore.
Customer: …and one more thing, could you please change this twenty dollar bill for me?
Cashier: Sorry sir I don’t understand your question.
Customer: I just want to change this twenty-dollar bill.
Cashier: I will have to check that with the manager.
Over the speaker you hear “Change request at cashier number 4”
Manager: So what kind of change are you trying to make, oh valued customer?”
Customer: I really just want to change this twenty-dollar bill into smaller bills
Cashier: This has never happened to me before and I didn’t know what to do.
Manager: That’s okay, I was just at a four day change management course. It was very inspiring, though I don’t recall this curious example of making change being addressed in any of the workshops. Just a moment while I review my flip chart notes.
Customer: It is just twenty dollars…
Manager: According to day 3 of the Change Management session, I need to tap into your motivation for change here. You already have twenty dollars, and yet you want another, different form of twenty dollars.
Customer: Just change for a twenty …
Manager: Like I said, this seems a little odd, since what you are asking for, you have already got. We never truly appreciate what we have sir, until it is gone.
Customer: You know I think I can solve this very difficult problem. Can I just buy some Tic Tacs with this twenty, and you just give me the change.
Cashier: Are you a point’s card member?
Manager: Time for your break Sally. Sir it will take just a minute here. as our friendly staff changes shifts.
New Cashier: I understand you are looking for change. How can I help you?
Customer: I think your manager has this under control
New Cashier: Sir my manager allows employees to take personal accountability for their work. We embrace an entrepreneurial spirit here and own our decisions. How can I help you?
Customer: I just want to change this twenty-dollar bill.
New Cashier: Just a minute, I have to put my new till into the register.
Customer: I see a lot of five and ten dollar bills there in your till. Is there any chance you could hold onto a few of those before….?
Customer in line: For Christ’s sakes I will make the change for you.
New Cashier: I see from my colleague’s notes here, you are interested in a noisy breath mint we call Tic Tacs. Are you a point’s card member?
Manager: Would you like a plastic bag for those Tic Tacs sir? There is 5-cent charge to dissuade irresponsible people like you, as we do our part to reduce the plastic epidemic and help the environment.
Customer. You know lets just forget the Tic Tacs, and I will just buy the plastic bag.
New Cashier: Do you collect Air Miles?
Customer: Here is twenty dollars and five cents for the bag. Could you change that twenty?
Change is hard folks. Making change is damn near impossible.
The word change is almost the same word as chance. There is literally only a one-letter difference in those two words. Or is it that figuratively only a one-letter difference? I find if you do not know the difference between literal and figurative, it is always best to use a different word. There is practically no difference between the word “change” and “chance”. This is a cruel trick that our language plays on us. The language lesson is foreboding as we discover there is very little “chance” that the people around you are ever going to “change”. The best you can hope for is that others will try to adapt to new circumstances but occasionally wear a different sweater.
In spite of human’s strong resistance to change, change is natural. By natural I mean it is part of nature, which is the literal definition of natural. ( I think I nailed the proper use of literal here). During the autumn season, we can’t ignore the leaves dramatically changing into breath taking different colours . Some refer to this season as fall, but don’t fall for it, as this sense of fall false hope of change in the air, tricks you into anticipating something good is about to happen. As the season ends and you stare at those naked, lifeless trees you will be reminded the effect of change can be deadly. As the population is immersed in this very brief leaf changing phenomena, many sit in awe, observing the power of nature. Some sit in comfortable chairs, but most just sit in awe. This overwhelming scene does not affect us with inspiration to change, but it does compel us to take many pictures to show others that change is a beautiful thing, until that change forces you into the tool shed to find your rake.
People suggest that your rigid personality is pretty well formed at the age of seven leaving little chance for behaviour change for the next eighty years. Others suggest that your entire way of being is established during those uninterrupted, blissful prenatal months. People also suggest that you should never wear white after Labour Day. The important point here is people sure make a lot of suggestions.
The sad conclusion here, is that Change is a beautiful thing, but only when it happens to others… or photogenic trees.
Cue the Blong: Sometimes your beautiful attitude is much more important than your beautiful approach.