Person Up!

Before you can make any cultural or organizational change, you might have to start with an attitude adjustment.

Change. Is that a bad word? Do you feel a bit anxious, maybe even fearful when you find out there will be a few changes in your job description and company policies? Yikes…will you be able to learn new things, and what if you make a mistake? 

And who wants to deal with change when things seem to be working OK just the way there are? No one! We get that. However, if you are going to improve and to continue moving forward in your organization, change is inevitable. Let’s face it, if we didn’t embrace change, the human race would still be living in the Dark Ages. I don’t know about you, but I can’t live without my blender. I am a fan of my morning smoothie, and I hope you join me in happily saying, “No,” to the Dark Ages.

Recently, I was visiting a client and watching how people were reacting to some of the changes we were proposing for their training program. Whew! How were we going to make this happen? And it wasn’t the team that was resistant to the proposed changes; it was the management team! Why? It didn’t make any sense that the management team was complaining when they were the ones who initially said things needed to be better. Apparently, they expected everything to improve without having to make any real (perhaps difficult) changes in the way they were doing things. Can you say magic? PFFF! Regretfully, that is not how the world works!

Here are some simple tips to keep in mind when you want to make some changes within your organization:

1. Stop being a big baby! Remember that you don’t have to take everything personally. No one is trying to attack the way YOU are doing something. The process of change can be a positive thing, and it isn’t meant to be used to denigrate anyone’s performance. The motivation behind the change is to find ways to build and enhance what is already there; it is not always about reinventing the wheel. Even if you do have to reinvent the wheel, why not give it a chance and see how things go? The outcome may be a positive one. As an example, I had an aversion to Scottish Haggis. I thought, “Ewwww, I could never eat that!” Surprise! When I tried it, I found out I liked it. Who knew? 

2. The past is the past! Leave it there! The past is something we can learn from, but when you spend all of your time looking in the rear-view mirror, it is not going to help you move your organization forward. If you continue to hear or say the expression, “That is not the way we do things around here,” then you need to check yourself. That sentence should be at the top of the “List of Cursed Statements” in the workplace. Every day you should be asking yourself if you could be improving upon the way you do things. Ask yourself and your colleagues how you can make things better. The past is a useful roadmap to highlight our mistakes so we don’t repeat them. Learn the lessons, let them grow, and then let it go!

3. Take a look in the mirror. You always want to look your best, right? Yes, we spend a lot of time trying to look presentable. We wear stylish clothing, the right makeup, and we take pride in our appearance. But what about your face? Your body language, for example, can betray your true feelings. Sometimes your inner thoughts have a way of sneaking up on you before you can censor your facial expressions and body language. If you don’t believe it, your team will not buy it. Monitor your facial expressions, what you say, and how you react to the proposed changes.

4. Try something new. I know you might be afraid of Instagram and Twitter, but those are modern day apps that millions of people use. Just think about the market share and the potential customers! OK, if you are usually afraid of something that is new, then you are pretty much old! In our North American culture, we often are biased against older people. No one wants to be old, and no one wants to look old. But when it comes right down to it, we may look young, but we can also have an old attitude.

  • “I don’t need to know that.”
  • “That is for those young people.”
  • “I couldn’t be bothered to learn those things.”

Each of those statements signals an old attitude. You are only as old as you feel, but sometimes, even if you are afraid to mess something up, you need to take a chance and learn! Break out your “young” attitude! When we were young, we enjoyed learning and exploring new experiences. When did we get to the point that we needed to know everything before we ventured out?

These are just four simple attitudes that can hold us back. You want to make changes in your organization. I am here to tell you that before you can make any cultural or organizational change, you might have to start with an attitude adjustment. Set yourself up for success as you realign your mindset.

Kevin James Saunders is a trainer and the chief company culture director for Oculus Training, a British Columbia-based corporate training and mystery shopping company offering sales management, reservations, sensitivity, and customer service training programs for a variety of service-based industries throughout Canada, the U.S., and the world. For more information, call 888.OCULUS4 or visit You also can connect with Oculus on Twitter @oculustraining, via e-mail at or visit it on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube.


Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.