The Impressive Power of Small Changes

You got that right, Jack.

I spent a few days in a Chicago hotel last week on a business trip. This particular hotel room had a very big window (which I LOVE) and actually a decent view. I had some work to do in between meetings, so I planned on using the desk. The problem was that this desk faced the wall. Actually, it faced a mirror, which is even worse because every time I looked up I saw my own ugly mug staring back at me.

Here’s where the desk was positioned:The old view

And here’s the view:Not much to see hereNow, I have been in a few hotels that had everything bolted down. And when I say everything, I mean they even bolted down the soap. Fortunately, I stay in slightly nicer hotels now. This particular hotel only bolted down the TV, which meant I could actually move the desk. So I did…a whole 3 feet. I didn’t even turn it around. I just created enough space between the desk and the wall to scoot the chair behind.

A new viewNow you’d think that moving three feet in a hotel room might not make much of a difference, and normally you’d be right. However, this three feet allowed me to change my perspective literally by 180 degrees. And it changed EVERYTHING. Check out my new view:

A whole new view

I just heard the collective gasp from our readers all around the world who are reading this at the same moment. Pretty dramatic, huh? Ok, so it’s not the ocean or mountains, but for a city view it’s pretty darn nice. Just for fun, scroll back up and look at the “before” view again, then come back here.

Here’s what I want you to get out of this:

The way it’s always been doesn’t have to be the way it always is.
Way too often you just take what you’re given and you don’t even question or think that you could ask for something else or modify what you’ve given. Rather than put in the effort to change something, you just shrug and say “oh, well.” Granted, life goes on, but imagine what I would have missed if I just left that desk where the hotel put it.

Changing your perspective (or anything else) is often easier than you think.
It took me about fifteen seconds to move that desk. How often do you resist change because you think it will take too long or too much effort or be too painful? And then you try and you discover that it was WAY easier than you thought.

Action trumps thought every time.
Before I moved the desk I had the thought, “It sure would be better if the desk faced the window.” I only got the view, however, when I actually moved the desk. Do you ever think about how something might be improved, and then fail to take action? Do you ever get mad when the same situation comes up again and you could kick yourself for not taking action before?

It won’t work every time. So what?
I could have moved the desk and hated it, or been too distracted by the view, or too far away from the electrical outlet.¬†Any time you try something new it’s an experiment. That means it won’t turn out better every time. However, people are often so afraid of failure, or disappointment, or wasting their time that they rarely try anything new or different, even when the risk is low.

Little shifts can make a very big difference.
Change doesn’t have to be massive to have a profound result. When you make small changes to your diet or exercise, positive changes take place in a very short amount of time. When you take an hour to clean and organize your office, you create a clean slate that energizes you for days or weeks. A short conversation to clear up a misunderstanding can completely halt the destruction of a relationship.

I challenge you to look for an opportunity today to make a small improvement that might have a big payoff. Where can you shift your perspective, try something new, or change the way you do something?

I’d love to hear what you’re thinking about that you might change. Leave a comment to share your thoughts and join the conversation!

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Here you'll find ideas, tips, and techniques to help make your next offsite your best meeting yet.We've learned a lot during the 15,000+ meetings we've hosted, and we never stop learning (and sharing) because meetings and teams are always evolving. Be sure to leave comments and join the conversation!