Single Blog

The Balancing Act of Control

Change Management

One of my favorite articles read this year was Lori Deshene’s50 Things You Can Control Right Now”. It was a rare gem I found on the Tiny Buddha Website. While there is much in the world out of our control, there are many things we can do to counter the lack of control we have otherwise. On the flip side of this, Anthony of the site wrote “What Happens To You When You Stop Trying To Control These 6 Things ”  For those that are curious:




Six things to stop trying to control:

  1. Other people’s opinions
  2. What others say about you
  3. Time
  4. Death
  5. Traffic
  6. The Past

Both articles promise a happier, more productive life if you follow their advice and, when you read them, you can’t help but agree with both. The moral to this is that it quickly becomes obvious that control is a balancing act. This is why the Management job is such a complicated one. While you are responsible for the results your department has, you are relying on others to get you to your goals. While you may not be able to control what your employees and co workers do, you can control who those employees are?  If one is not doing what is expected, you can let them go, and if you feel your co-workers are not meeting your needs, you can go work elsewhere.   When it comes right down to things, there if very little one really can control other than their behavior and actions.

Let’s say the price of fuel may go up causing less traffic to come into your C- stores.  You can either grumble and use it as an excuse for poor sales, or look for ways to increase the average amount of sale of the traffic you are getting, by running specials, or promoting reward programs while you have more time to spend with each customer. to get long term value from them.  Another example would ve working with your vendors.  If you do not like their new pricing, you have the option of seeking other brands and can let them know it, hoping to drive down the price.  However,  if it s a brand you must have, then perhaps you can negotiate a longer term contract to lower the price.  Another example would be an employee always showing up late for work, or not even showing at all. You can’t go to their house to pick them up each day to ensure they are coming in, but you can create accountability and warn them that you will let them go and replace them with  a more reliable employee.

These differences are subtle, but one is based on your needs, the other approaches are mutually beneficial.  By putting consideration to all sides of a situation, you can quickly gain control of a situation or at least your part in it.  It is a balance of your needs and that of the opposing force making you feel you are losing the control that will help you recapture it. You will find, as you manage, if you look for mutual benefit when trying resolve situations spinning out of control, you will get much better results.   There are things you should try to control and things you should accept that you cannot. The balancing act of deciding which is which is a skill well honed by opting for mutual benefit.