John Wooden, the legendary Basketball coach was once quoted as saying “We can have no progress without change, whether it be basketball or anything else” He would later quip that “although there is no progress without change, not all change is progress” At first glance you may be a little miffed at how contradictory that statement sounds, ‘surely change is needed for progress to happen? Let us start by adding some context, pick up a dictionary, flick back and forth through the pages until you land on change! According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, which describes itself as, America’s most trusted online dictionary for English word definitions, meanings, and pronunciation – so modest of them – change is ‘the act, process, result of changing such as alteration, transformation, substitution.
Hold that thought! –
Now let us switch or attentions to progress, which is defined by America’s most trusted online dictionary as ‘a forward or onward movement; to develop a higher, better or more advanced stage’.
Laid bare (if that is possible for a nonphysical thing to do) change relates to a process or act. Progress is concerned with forward movement towards betterment. It is true though, isn’t it? Think about it, no one has ever crashed their car and thought ‘hey I’ve made progress today’ (that is unless they are caught up in some highly illegal insurance scam, to which that would be a perfectly plausible response) neither has anyone who has just thought about making a change, then change has happened, remember it requires action! Writing for the Business Matters online magazine, Author and Change Implementation Specialist and Mindfulness Expert, Philip Cox-Hynd provides us with the following fictional story:
‘A general manager (let’s call him Ian) came to take charge of the UK operation of a FMCG Top 20 company. He soon came to notice many people turning up late to meetings and taking a generally poor attitude towards punctuality. When holding his first meeting with department heads, several arrived five minutes late. Ian informed them that they were late for the meeting, and asked them to leave, before carrying on without them. Word soon spread and punctuality soon took on a new lease of life in the company’.
We can therefore ascertain that Ian changed how the company viewed the importance of punctuality and as a result, increased awareness and progress was made with employees being late less often. Success! A marriage made in heaven!
Though, let us not get carried away with ourselves just yet! We still must tackle the idea that ‘not all change is progress’. Let us shift our focus from Business and look and YOU! YES YOU! THE PERSON READING THIS! (all you grammar nerds out there, don’t freak out, the capitals are there to draw your attention should you get bored reading about punctuality changes in Business). It is possible for you to make some changes in your life that may not equal progress. For example, you decide to move to a new town because the old town that you left was dull and dreary, or because you wanted new career opportunities. Yes, you have changed your location, but that does not necessarily equate to progress in your life. Maybe you decide to change your diet, to cut out certain foods only to find that you are low on energy and getting twitchy and moody because the withdrawal symptoms resulting from the absence of your favourite chocolate bar is sending you over the edge. That does not sound like progress!
Whatever way you choose to view it, know that I’ve written nearly 650 words and I’ve forgotten why I started writing this blog…………….If you will, allow me to take you into the world of Mustard, as a means of drawing this rambling blog to some sort of sensible conclusion.
I bet my ridiculously low salary that if I asked you to name the colour of the mustard bottle in your fridge or cupboard or asked you to associate a colour to a bottle within which you would find mustard, my guess is that you’d say yellow! Which would be a wise choice considering that most mustards are yellow in colour. For the bonus of a Mars Bar and a can of Coca Cola (age restrictions apply) if you were to tell me that yellow mustard is predominately, made from ground white mustard seed with turmeric and vinegar, which gave it a mild, slightly metallic taste then you would be booking a dentist appointment soon. You see that is it! For years, the most poplar type of mustard has been of the yellow variety, that is not to say that others do not exist, it’s just that for some reason they struggled to win as much of the market share as the King of the mustard world!
That was until the early seventies, when the new kid on the block set about knocking king yellow off his perch. At that time, low on the speciality selves sat Grey Pupon, which was a Dijon mustard. For years nothing had changed, no progress had been made. Grey Pupon was nothing more than a One Hundred Thousand Dollar a year mustard. The executives at Grey Pupon stumbled upon something quite remarkable. They ran hundreds of blind taste tests with varieties of yellow mustard and to their surprise a significant number of testers only had to taste Grey Pupon once to switch allegiances. Grey Pupon was magic!
“They hired the Manhattan ad agency Lowe Marschalk to do something, on a modest budget, for television. The agency came back with an idea: A Rolls-Royce is driving down a country road. There’s a man in the back seat in a suit with a plate of beef on a silver tray. He nods to the chauffeur, who opens the glove compartment. Then comes what is known in the business as the “reveal.” The chauffeur hands back a jar of Grey Poupon. Another Rolls-Royce pulls up alongside. A man leans his head out the window. “Pardon me. Would you have any Grey Poupon?”
Sales in Grey Pupon grew up to fifty percent! Price per jar jumped from $1.49 to $3.99 almost overnight. What this story shows us is that change is possible in all of us. We need to be acutely aware of our strengths and use them to develop our weaknesses. Start with your strengths in mind! Secondly, your progress may not be as immediate as Grey Pupon’s or as effective as Ian (the guy from the imaginary Business that we met earlier) but progress is still possible, the key is choosing wisely which markers you use to define it. And yes, you can change and not make progress, but remember that not all progress requires change.