Header graphic for print
In Search of Perfect Client Service Why lawyers don't seem to get it

Do You Prefer Things The Way They Are?

Posted in Leadership and Management

Seth Godin got me thinking.  He does that to people.  He is, as he describes himself, an "agent of change."  And I like nothing better than change, so maybe that’s why I am such a fan.  His recent post, Thrill seekers, divides people into two categories–thrill seekers and fear avoiders.  I can’t better his description of the people in these categories, so let me just use his words:

Thrill seekers love growth. They most enjoy a day where they try something that was difficult, or–even better–said to be impossible, and then pull it off. Thrill seekers are great salespeople because they view every encounter as a chance to break some sort of record or have an interaction that is memorable.

Fear avoiders hate change. They want the world to stay just the way it is. They’re happy being mediocre, because being mediocre means less threat/fear/change. They resent being pushed into the unknown, because the unknown is a scary place.

Seth than asks why not call them risk seekers and risk avoiders?  Good question. His answer?

So why not call them risk seekers and risk avoiders? Well, it used to be true. Seeking thrills was risky. But no longer. Now, of course, safe is risky. The horrible irony is that the fear avoiders are setting themselves up for big changes because they’re confused. The safest thing they can do now, it turns out, is become a thrill seeker.

"Now, of course, safe is risky."  What a powerful insight.  Think about a child standing next to a merry-go-round.  Because its safe.  After all, centrifugal force will not cause you to fly off the merry-go-round if you aren’t on it.  But now the merry-go-round is picking up speed and you have to get it on it or you won’t survive the taunts of your friends.  The safe spot is now risky.  As the world changes and our business changes, safe is risky.  If fear paralyzes you because you are a fear avoider, you just stay the same in a world moving by at a faster and faster pace.  Safe, but ultimately sorry.