Change: The Tools You Need for the Life You Want at Work and Home is about adapting to change, but it focuses on a specific kind of change. This kind of change isn’t something that you can prepare for. It’s the kind of change, like an unexpected illness or job loss, that can knock you off your feet. In those times, the book says, we have to tap into a new set of resources to find a solution. Change provides a mental road map to those resources so that readers can live through those obstacles and come out on the other side.
What is Change About?
For most things in life, the answer can be found with a click. Looking to start a business? Google can provide you millions of business plan templates and advice to get started. Looking for a new job? Google can provide millions of solutions for that as well. There are some changes, though, that shake us to our core.
Change provides a mental road map for dealing with complex problems that Google can’t answer.
In the book, author Gary Bradt uses real-life (but fictional) stories to illustrate the kinds of problems that he is focused on. He follows three employees while they experience changes sudden changes in circumstances in their business and personal lives:
- First, there is Kimberly, an executive who is struggling despite her “superwoman” image. She is rushing from appointment to appointment, rarely has time for the relationships in her life, having trouble connecting with her team at work, and has little time to “get a workout”.
- Then there is Justin, an engineer, who is laid off after devoting 20+ years to the company.
- Finally, there is Ken, an executive at the same company where Kimberly and Justin work, who has to live with the difficult decision to lay people off from work.
Throughout these tales and his own personal story, Bradt shares his advice on dealing with sudden and unexpected change. This kind of change, the book reminds us, will happen to everyone. Dealing with this kind of situation successfully isn’t a matter of finding a quick external solution (like a book or seminar). It requires tapping into the right tools and strategies such as having the right mindset, investing in relationships, breaking free of the past, and focusing on priorities. The book focuses on helping readers integrate these tools and strategies into their lives now before it becomes too late.
Bradt is a clinical psychologist by training who became a speaker, executive coach, and author after nearly losing his first child to a heart condition. Bradt’s career received a major boost when he was selected as a featured speaker by Dr. Spencer Johnson, author of the wildly successful book, “Who Moved My Cheese?”.
What Was Best About Change?
The first thing that readers will come across is the effortless way Bradt uses stories to communicate his message in a simple and highly engaging way. These stories reinforce how sudden and unexpected change happens to everyone and often has ripple effects that impact both our personal and professional lives. This is important to remember because sudden and unexpected change requires different solutions to regain work-life balance than most would expect.
What Could Have Been Done Differently?
The book does an excellent job of demonstrating the power of our thinking patterns during periods of change and adjustment. Many books focus, rather gloomily, on the problems caused by the disruptive nature of the future. These books encourage adapting their business but they don’t help readers learn how to adapt their minds. This book attempts to remedy the situation. However it could use more refinement. Specifically, information on how to implement the book’s suggested tools (like the ToWho list) on a personal and organizational level would be helpful.
Why Read Change?
Business schools and business plans help us anticipate change, but they don’t help us deal with unexpected and sudden changes (like business failures, loss of a family member, illness). For those kinds of situations, you need more than a motivational book, a Google search, or a seminar. To survive unexpected and sudden change, you need to transform. Change helps readers launch into that transformation As Bradt points out, the key to transformation starts with our thoughts. By changing the way we think — using suggestions from the book — we start a chain reaction that keeps us grounded in a constantly changing and uncertain world.