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Changing Lanes Step #2 – Look for Options and Risks

September 09, 20224 min read

Clear a path to progress

Become Increasingly clear and confident with your decision and ability to change lanes safely.

Like you would on the highway, look for opportunities to Change Lanes that will improve progress and accelerate your success (without recklessness or undue risk).  Make sure the path you’re planning is both clear and safe. Not filled with hazards and detours and roadblocks that will set you back.  Identify and embrace constraints, and avoid undue risks, unless you’re sure you can handle them when they arise.

An honest and thorough understanding about what’s in place to support your change as well as obstacles or people you’ll have to avoid, overcome or convince is vital to your success.  Knowing that the change you propose is both safe and sound for the organization will help you to develop support. It’s important to note:  There are times as well that not changing can be a greater risk than doing things differently.  

“The pain of regret is greater than the pain of discipline.”  Jim Rohn

Man Driving

There’s a process for clearing the way.  In your car, you can’t just look forward.  You use your mirrors and peripheral vision to see if you think it’s clear from behind and alongside.  Then, as a final precaution, turn your head and look to be sure it’s clear, before you start to change…  (At least, you’re supposed to.)

So how does this translate to business?   Ask yourself these questions:

How much change will it take to just improve progress?  

  • Is it a lot or a little?  A few tweaks or a complete overhaul?  

How much change will it take to completely achieve your goal(s)?   

  • This is a different question that the previous one.  The first is how much do we have to change to head in a better direction and accelerate progress? 

  • This question is how much change will it take to achieve the goal?  The answer may be simply to sustain the initial change over time, i.e., “Get in that lane and stay there.”, Or it may call for additional lane changes now, or over time, as you progress. 

  • Don’t get lost in the details.  Just turn your attention to these possibilities and jot down your initial thoughts.

What are the risks or consequences of the change you'd like to make? 

Here's a checklist of vital questions:

  • Will this change add or diminish risk?

  • Will it take time or save time? 

  • Speed things up or slow them down?

  • Make things easier, or harder at first, before they get easier?

Assess your blind spots.  How will it affect you personally?

Look to look to teammates, competitors, mentors, other industries for perspective you may lack.  How will it affect others?  Ask yourself and them.

  • Your business partners?

  • Your family?

  • Your team?

  • Your vendors?

  • Your customers and other stakeholders?

How you ask these questions will influence the response.  Remember - You’re not asking for their permission.  You’ve already decided to change lanes.  Let others know you’re considering and planning, this change.  What do they see as opportunities, challenges, or risks?  You may even ask or receive their thoughts and recommendations on how to succeed or how they can help.  A great way to gain buy-in.

While this may seem excessive, it doesn’t have to be laborious or take a long time.  Looking at things from other perspectives will help you to develop a clear picture.

What are the risks or consequences of staying the course? 

Here are some "Resistance-Busters"...   What happens if you hesitate or fail to Change Lanes?

  • Will you miss your goals or targets?

  • Will you succeed, just behind schedule?

  • Will you exceed budget or run out of money?

  • Will you be increasingly micro-managed?

  • Will the reputation of you or your team be diminished?

  • Will your company lose, or fail to gain market share?

  • Will you be reassigned, replaced or lose your job? 

For bigger, or larger-scale changes, you may want or need to be even more thorough as you survey the path(s) forward.  Other lane changes may be smaller, but no less important, and require similar vigilance to ensure a safe and agile transition.

The Changing Lanes for Business Coaching Program offers a special tool you can use to develop a clear and thorough picture of whether or how to Change Lanes and become increasingly confident with your decision and ability to and position yourself for success.

Risks of Skipping This Step:

  • Initiating change without knowing if or when it’s clear, or what’s in the way is both risky and reckless.

  • Shortsightedness can lead to major regret, failure, adverse or even catastrophic consequences.

  • Not having an honest assessment of the obstacles and challenges the change will face can leave you surprised and delay or derail your success.

  • Not knowing what and when to Signal the Change to your team and stakeholders.

Speaking of Signaling, that’s Step #3 of the Changing Lanes Approach.  Click here for the next post: SIGNAL the Change to learn Four Tips to Safely Signal Your Lane Change. 

Schedule a FREE call with me to discuss the opportunities and risks you’re facing and how you can use the Changing Lanes approach to succeed.    

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