Control What You Can Control


During change, we quickly realize that we have less control over what is happening around us, so we must use our energy to control the things we CAN control.  This is a leadership behavior that can make powerful differences if we share this expectation with all our employees.  Here are three cultural results…

  1. We skip the time and energy used in blaming others who can no longer do things for us that they could do in the past; things changed, and their control is limited also.
  2. When the only thing to control is our own perspective, we make a positive difference by controlling our attitude or controlling our fear of what we do not know about what is coming.
  3. When the expectation is for everyone to control what they can control, we limit energy-draining complaints and move on to exploring solutions that we can control.

Circles of Concern, Control and Influence

During change our circle of concern grows quickly, and our circle of control often shrinks.  We should always seek to understand and monitor those things we cannot control, because we may suddenly find some aspect where we are given control and the opportunity to make a difference.

Taking responsibility for what we are able to control helps us feel less helpless during change.  Another tool for overcoming that vulnerability is to explore and expand our circle of influence.

Everyone’s engagement is expanded in positive directions through effective influence.  Unfortunately, what we often witness is negative influence, that puts a dangerous drag on the implementation of critical changes.

Understanding and monitoring your concerns is also critical to wisely influencing them.

Recognizing and acting on the choices we DO have is a powerful way to influence those things we cannot totally control:

  • We can choose how we prepare for the unknown
  • We can choose the kind of leadership and partnerships we offer to peers and leaders
  • We can choose the impressions and encouragement we give to others
  • We can choose the attitudes we express
  • We can choose the problems we escalate and how we communicate them

We challenge you to list the ways you can expand your influence in the changes that frustrate you today.  If you need more ideas on behaviors that would help equip your employees to manage change, we can help!

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