Change Leadership Secret – 39 – Stay Away from Turtles

Change Leadership — Secret # 39
Stay Away from Turtles

It often takes more courage to change
one’s opinion than to stick to it. —George Christoph Lichtenberg

What I Need to Know

The sixth change type is the “Turtle.”

The Turtle is the other neurotic change type. The Turtle is plagued by anxieties, perhaps second only to those of the Chicken. Whereas the Chicken copes with anxieties by occupying himself with activities, the Turtle’s coping mechanism is to withdraw into his shell, close himself off from the reality of the world, and form his own reality inside his shell. He is close-minded, fiercely resists change, and refuses to acknowledge the changes occurring all around him. Because of the strong effect of his coping mechanisms, the Turtle may appear to be slightly more stable than the Chicken. But the Turtle lacks the confidence to acknowledge reality—let alone venture into the unknown. The Turtle also has the lowest action-orientation, risk tolerance, confidence, and openness of all the change types. The figure below shows the Turtle’s profile.

What I Need to Do

Your resources will be depleted before you succeed in helping a Turtle make changes. As the saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”

It is truly a sad and frustrating experience to watch a Turtle withdraw into his shell and forfeit seemingly beautiful opportunities.

However, you have responsibilities to your company, yourself, and your family. Those responsibilities do not permit you to expend resources that generate zero return. In fact, you could experience a negative return if the Turtle snaps at you when he perceives you are “attacking” his status quo. Only the Turtle must take responsibility for his change response.
Therefore, do everyone a favor and disengage from the Turtle as quickly as possible.

Action Summary

  • Quickly identify and disengage from Turtles.
  • Do not attempt to engage the Turtle if he snaps in defense of his status quo.
  • Gradually wean yourself of any existing customers who prevent you from evolving your business.
Change Leadership Secret - 39 Stay Away from Turtles
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About Brett Clay

Clay is the author of “Selling Change,” named the best business book and best sales book of 2010, and is the CEO of Change Leadership Group, LLC, a firm that helps clients improve their sales, marketing, and leadership capabilities. A veteran of 20 years in international sales and marketing management, most recently with Microsoft Corporation, he is an award-winning author, award-winning marketer, trainer, speaker, consultant, and business leader.

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