For years, I’ve used the word “guys” as a generic term when I talk about people on teams. One of my reviewers for the Modern Management books offered me this feedback:
“When I see or hear the word, “guys,” I assume there aren’t any women.”
Oh boy. I decided to change my language. I’ve been practicing, substituting the words “people” and “teams.” I’m not perfect at this, yet. I continue to practice.
I see this value in the wording change:
- I’ll use more inclusive language.
- I will avoid reinforcing stereotypes of men in technology.
- I might learn something as I change my language.
You might think this is a quick and easy change for me. It’s not. I still struggle with avoiding the “guys” word. However, I’m a person who likes to experiment with change.
Not everyone likes to experiment with change. Some people don’t like the whole idea of change.
What about people who ask questions like these:
- When can we return to normal? (Often in reference to the pandemic.)
- Do I really have to change how I work? (Often when I suggest an alternative to how they practice their work now.)
- Do I really have to change how I think? (Often when we discuss root causes and why things are the way they are.)
Sometimes, people don’t know what to do to support any changes. They don’t have a transforming idea yet.
And, some people deny that we are in a form of lasting change. They think they can wait out the organizational changes, especially if they don’t have an appetite for this change.
They see more value in staying the same instead of changing.
Assess Your Value for This Change
When I see people who see more value in staying in the Old Status Quo, I wonder why. What value do they see in remaining the same? (Many people don’t realize we change a little every day, so we don’t stay exactly the same. We all think we stay the same—me included! However, we change a little every day.)
I tend to want to experiment more than other people. I’ve always had this “change-oriented” approach to life and work. So, even though the pandemic has “helped” most of us experiment more, some people much prefer to think about how to retain the Status Quo.
I think our preferences are at least partly about what we value.
I value rethinking and rechoosing (change) over the same (consistency and predictability).
Other people value consistency and predictability over change.
I created the image as a continuum because I’m sure this preference depends on a person’s current context.
Since I practice my adaptability and resilience every day (the vertigo problem), I am sure I orient more towards change as a default. I’m pretty sure I didn’t orient more towards change when I had my balance. (I don’t remember anymore!)
So, when you propose a change, especially for someone else, remember they might not see the same value as you do. People have mental filters and perceive value differently. And, their default position on this change/same continuum might also play a part in how open they are to change.
That’s the question this week, ladies and gentlemen (not guys!): What do you tend to value: same or change?
- When Do We Consider People Beyond Redemption?
- How Much Stoicism Makes Sense for You?