Tuesday, March 2, 2010


In his book Rules of Thumb, Alan Webber writes that change is a math formula. Change happens when the cost of the status quo is greater than the risk of change:


This is valid both at a personal level and at a professional level. And of course at an individual level as well as at an organizational level.

At a more persona level Anais Nin says the same:

And the day came when the risk it took to remain in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

Another rule which is essential in this respect:

I cannot change other people or the past. I can only change myself.

Now lets see how these rules of changes have worked out in the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Here in The Netherlands the whole country was depressed by the disqualification of Sven Kramer at the 10 km speed skating. His coach publicly admitted that he had made3 a mistake and that he had sent Sven to the wrong lane. That is a professional reaction and he showed to be very vulnerable as well. Sven on the other hand was very angry on his coach. “Because he made a mistake, I did miss my gold medal”. But is that really the case? I would say no. Sven is the skater and he himself is totally responsible for his performance. He should have known that his coach was wrong. He should have followed his own inner knowing.

This happens frequently and many people get away with it. You can blame others for not being successful yourself. Now there are speculations in the press that Sven wants a new coach for the new season. This is not the solution (for that particular topic), as Sven needs to look inside and take full responsibility for his own performance. He has to change to be included in the list of the greatest skaters on earth,

In the same team there is also a woman skater. Pauline van Deutekom, (former world champion), who is over-trained, so she could not participate at all. It looks like that those two events are now challenging the status quo and the coaches will review their training practices.

Another example is the four man bobsleigh team. The driver, Erwin van Calcar, had crashed some days before in the two man bobsleigh. He had a lot of fear, especially that he would be responsible for the health of the other people in his team. His fear was so strong that he decided not to compete at all. He felt that he was not up to the challenge.

He received a lot of negative reactions from his coach and from the chairman of the bobsleigh federation. Nevertheless he was very courageous and he stick to his decision. This is an example of a professional who takes responsibility himself. He did not let others influence him. I think that he was very brave to do so. He was right that the track was too dangerous, because there were many accidents. So, it is not Erwin who has to change, but the officials. Their behavior was not dignified at all. We have to support people who take 100% responsibility for their own performance.


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