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I’ve been a fan of Ilya Prigogine for more than thirty years. I first heard about him in the early 80’s at a human potential workshop. When I was introduced to him I also learned a new word, perturbation.

Perturbation is bombarding of a structure. In Mr. Prigogine’s world it was atomic structures that would be bombarded and then emerge as something completely new. In our world it can be having the universe tell us we’re on the wrong track and need to change.

A story about my management style.

When I was about 30 years old I was a true my way or the highway type of manager. If you didn’t do it my way and you didn’t do it quickly there was a very good chance I would either yell at you or even worse, fire you on the spot.

In my company absolutely no one trusted me. I was inconsistent in how I acted and as a result there was no reliability. I really didn’t care about the people that worked with me. I only cared that they did what I wanted.

People who worked for me would regularly quit with no notice. I was getting the results that I deserved. I was making it infinitely more difficult for my business to run properly. If I didn’t change how I acted my company would be at risk. My world was being regularly bombarded with negative messages. I could either listen to the messages and change my behavior or I could watch my business continue to go downhill.

Perturbation tells us that we need a different path.

In my case I could change my behavior or watch my business possibly disappear under the stress of my poor behavior. What about you? Are there messages that you’re getting that you should pay attention to?

We all get messages daily that tell us whether we’re doing the right things or we need to change. If we get enough negative messages we’re being perturbated. If we don’t pay attention there are some really bad things that can happen. Organisms that don’t change become extinct. That’s not what you want to happen to you.

Perturbation keeps bombarding us until we change.

The thing about perturbation that I find really useful is that it doesn’t stop. If we’re doing self-destructive things, we’ll continue to get messages that we’re doing so. If you eat too much you’ll continue to gain weight. If you don’t exercise you’re going to have heart problems. If you service the wrong customer your profits suffer. If you stay in a bad job your health will suffer. It’s really pretty simple, we either do the right thing or we pay the price.

We all have changes we should pay attention to. Are you in a relationship that doesn’t work for you? What sort of messages are you getting that it’s time to change? Are your outcomes with money what you want? Would a coach help you make wiser decisions? What are the questions you should be asking yourself?

Sometimes we never get around to make that change.

This is where danger resides. Sometimes we just never get around to making changes we need to make. If this happens your life could move in a downhill spiral. You can’t keep making poor decisions and doing self-destructive things. If you do, you will evolve and the evolution you’ll go through won’t be something you’ll enjoy.

Think about messages the universe is sending you. What is it telling you?

We have a workbook that might help you through a perturbation event. It’s called the When in Transition workbook. You’ll get to ask yourself some important questions about what you need to do as change is poking at you. To get this workbook, click on the link below.

When in transition work book

Topics: cultural change, communication

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