Incremental change often goes without notice.

I have long been someone that enjoys a good practical joke.  One of my favorites is to make some sort of small change in my personal appearance; and then wait to see how long it takes before anyone close to me notices.  Over the years, I have often used my beard and mustache for just such purpose.

I used to wear a full beard and mustache.  But back in the 4th quarter of 2001, I ran a December contest for my sales team.  I set a target for the month that I believed would be quite a stretch (okay… I didn’t think they would hit it).  As the reward for hitting the goal – I promised that they could shave my beard off at an upcoming meeting.

They hit the goal – and true to my word, I let them shave my beard at a meeting.

If memory serves me well, that is probably the only time anyone ever actually noticed me shaving my beard although I have done so many times.

For the last 5 years or so, I have sported a goatee.  I like the way it elongates my face.  But this weekend, I shaved it off.  I kept the mustache, but shaved off all the hair on my chinny-chin-chin.

We had a family birthday lunch yesterday for one of our nieces.  My wife and I had decided that we would not mention the beard, just to see if anyone would notice.


None did. [lightbox link=”” thumb=”” width=”300″ align=”right” title=”goatee” frame=”true” icon=”image” caption=””]

The day-to-day routine of life, sales and running a business can tend to dull our senses.  Individuals, organizations and couples can drift, ever-so-slightly, from those things that made them successful in the first place.  The difference goes unnoticed for the most part – until one day they look up and everything has completely changed.

I heard Dr. Charles Lowery talk about this phenomenon. He described floating in the warm waters of an ocean, just off the beach.  If you float along long enough, you will often look up to find that your beachfront hotel has moved about 1/2 mile away.

How did that big building move?

It didn’t.  We did.

This week we will discuss how individuals and organizations can notice their own subtle changes. And we will discuss how to avoid the pitfalls that can accompany that process.

QUESTION: How can you tell if you have changed your process?