Portrait Of A Woman Changing Her Mood

Both Ways of Doing It Are Tough

It’s not often that I’ll write a blog on a brand new idea that just came to me, but this revelation I had last week was enough to put this subject at the top of my topic list.

I knew I needed to write this after I’d already shared the “A-Ha moment” on a call with someone so soon after the discovery.

The discovery, as I’ve labeled it, was nothing more than a brief phrase I read in a book (or maybe I heard it on an audiobook?).

The phrase, if I’m getting it verbatim, was, 



                                             changing the people 

                                                  is easier than 

                                            changing the people”.


Don’t worry if it doesn’t hit you right away, that can be expected. 

The important thing is to eventually get it and understand it, and I promise we’ll get into it, and especially look at it from the lens of people who work with their family members.

Changing People 1: Simple Method – Swap

So I’m making this one “No.1” because based on my understanding of the quote, this is the first option the speaker is alluding to.

The idea of getting rid of certain people and replacing them with new people is an option in many situations. 

The thinking goes that if you can’t change the way you are, then we are going to get rid of you and bring in someone who is a better fit.

Simple enough, on the surface, right?

But what about doing this in a family business, is it really that simple when you are contemplating firing a relative?

Yes, it is done sometimes, and sometimes the family even manages to get through it without too many hard feelings, but it’s always trickier than it would be if the person being changed out wasn’t part of the family.

Changing People 2: Complex Method – Convince

So let’s look at the other way of changing people, which I’ve decided to call “convince”.

I labelled this one “complex” because it can take on all sorts of angles and will vary in how each person who’s trying to convince another will go about the effort.

It’s also likely something that is not a “one shot deal” but much more of a process, involving a number of interactions over a longer period of time.

The other reason I call it complex is because no two people will do it the same way, and even if it “worked” with one person, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to make it work the same way with someone else.

When Do You Switch from One to the Other?

If we go back to the quote that’s driving this whole blog, there seems to be an inherent question under the surface, which I get from the first word, “sometimes”.

So, what are those times where you need to switch from convincing someone to swapping them out?

Presumably, you will try to convince first, second, and third, and maybe even a few dozen times, before coming to the conclusion that you need to go to the much more drastic plan of getting rid of someone and bringing in someone new.

Working with family members is great when things are going well, and when they’re not, well, it can really be awful.

Coming to the conclusion that someone absolutely needs to go is quite difficult, but sometimes it’s necessary.

Who Can You Really Truly Control?

Of course trying to convince people to change has its limits, because most people don’t like to be told what to do, and a lot of people resist change to begin with.

If you’re a regular reader you will be familiar with my thoughts on how futile it can be to even try to change others, because the only person we can actually really control is ourselves.

I know that I don’t like it when other people try to tell me I need to do something different or try to make me do something I don’t like doing.

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone here, either.

Sometimes we need to flip it around, look in the mirror, and see what changes we can make in ourselves, and see if we can’t end up with some positive changes in the others around us.

Family systems theory is pretty clear, if you change how you interact with the system, the system will change.