Organizations, similar to individuals, are constantly changing, with or without a planned focus. It was a combination of good fortune and restless energy that encouraged me to establish The Change Companies in January of 1989 with the mission of helping individuals make positive life changes. Over the next 23 years, I continued to be reminded that it’s the little choices we make each day that keep an individual, or an organization, moving in the right direction.
From a one-person office outside of Madison, Wisconsin, originally named Serenity Support Services to its current location in Carson City Nevada, The Change Companies has stayed true to its core mission while experiencing significant growth by constantly reshaping its products and services. A corporation’s DNA is in its employees. The Change Companies has always been blessed with outstanding individuals who blend their skills, passion and personalities into their work. Dynamic organizations are built by intelligent employees who make wise choices each day. Change is not a surprise in their professional and personal lives, it is a natural outcome of being in the game. Don’t get me wrong, things were not always peaches and cream. Similar to growing children, The Change Companies stubbed its toe on numerous occasions. It ran out of money. It overcommitted. It failed in entering markets that were controlled by better funded and established companies. But, in the process, it learned to be nimble in a diminishing healthcare market, its employees embraced a sense of urgency each day and learned to communicate through robust dialogue, cutting through irrelevant chatter to attack the real challenges and problems that arose each day. The Change Companies applied the research that was expanding in behavioral change. As employees, we all changed while studying the process of change. We learned to have fun and grow together, a little at a time. The company’s expansion did not come in measured increments but in periodic bursts. We created Interactive Journals and, in time, sold over 20 million of them. And about those Lilliputian choices that kept The Change Companies moving along; two come to mind. First, with only one point left on my driving privileges, I was spotted speeding by a highway patrolman outside Davenport, Iowa. To save my license and the company, I thought of speeding up and ducking into a farmer’s driveway. But I chose to stop and “sell the story” about our amazing little company. The officer laughed, scratched his forehead and gave me a warning ticket. The Change Companies continued to drive forward. Second, when we were six months behind on paying American Printing of Madison and I needed them to print our next set of Journals, rather than hiding out, I established an office in their lobby to make certain the chief financial officer knew I would always be present. It worked, the presses ran and The Change Companies went from red ink to black. Whether it be an individual or a company, it’s the little things we do each day that make a big difference.