Is Change A Matter Of Keeping Up With The Joneses

It is difficult to build momentum as an individual, a team, or even an organization…if we are ‘scarcity’ focused.

Covey told us to “Begin with the End in Mind“.  The Heath Brothers talked about “the Elephant, the Rider, and the Path“.  Daniel Pink believes “It all comes down to Selling“.  And W. Edwards Deming reminded us that “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.

We all understand that change is hard, difficult…uncomfortable.  And we also know at the end of the day, whether we want to admit it or not, change is inevitable.  Even necessary.  It is a unavoidable part of living life.

So, no matter how we want to frame it, describe it, phrase it, or depict it…change requires some form, type, act, or process of transformation.  It requires doing different. 

However, no matter how many varied descriptions we have, the one saying we don’t usually equate with change is…”Keeping up with the Joneses“.

But we should…

For, “keeping up with the Joneses” is an integral player in our modern day human condition.  We have this unending need to compare ourselves, our stuff, our jobs, our teams, our organizations…even our countries.

And do not think for one minute this unending need escapes the economic powers that be.  Our intrinsic need to “keep up with the Joneses” has turned us into walking billboards.  It has infiltrated all facets of our lives…from Nike stripes, to Levi tags, and even Mercedes hood ornaments.  It effects what we wear, what we drive, even where we live.

We live in a constant state of comparison…

And it can be an obsession, as well as a mindset.  And not just in what we wear, drive, or live…but in our professional lives as well.  “Keeping up with the Joneses” very often becomes a way of benchmarking ourselves and our organizations.  The problem is that very seldom do we recognize it for what it is…an ongoing need to compare ourselves and our organizations.

And when we apply “keeping up with the Joneses” thinking to our organizations…very often we move to the “less” side, to the “cup is half full” way of viewing our ourselves and our organization.  We have this tendency to see others as doing better, accomplishing more, achieving at a faster rate…and very often without any merit to back up these assertions.  We always want to believe “the grass is greener on the other lawn“.

Which tends to play out in a “scarcity” mindset…

Keeping up with the Joneses” and our unending need to compare takes us down that “scarcity” path…often leaving us frustrated with where we are at, the progress we are making, and where we stand compared to the organization next door.

Comparing will always leave us feeling like…we never have enough, look good enough, are smart enough, tall enough, happy enough, etc.  When we spend our time comparing ourselves and our organizations, we never gain or get to a place of fulfillment.

And we end up accepting that “scarcity” mindset…

When we rid ourselves of the “keeping up with the Joneses” way of thinking, when we are able to move ourselves and our organizations beyond external comparisons and the “scarcity” mindset…we are able to put on a better lens for viewing change and change processes.

For change is not about comparison or benchmarking ourselves to others…rather, it is about determining and benchmarking ourselves towards our own vision, our own goals, and the change we are seeking for ourselves and our organization.

In the end, remember that change is not a competitive sport…even though we sometimes have a tendency to treat it like it is.

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