Don’t Let the Curveball of Change Strike You Out

curveball of change

Tino MantellaBy Tino Mantella

TLG President & CEO

While addressing Congress in October of 1962 during his State of the Union Address, President John F. Kennedy said: “Pleasant as it may be to bask in the warmth of recovery…the time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining”. President Kennedy, speaking on the economy, emphasized the importance of acting at the right time to prevent the worst possible outcome, that we must think preventatively.

I am currently listening to a book titled “Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity”. Author Peter Attia, M.D. points out that medicine is mostly about responding to ailments as opposed to early prevention and that the health community must move towards early prevention.

I had a recent taste of this “medicine” myself when my wife Deb and I visited Hilton Head Island in South Carolina for a long overdue vacation. While we were there, our neighbor called and informed us that a tree had fallen onto our house during a recent storm. Fortunately, the damage wasn’t substantial, but nevertheless, I knew exactly which tree fell… one from school district property onto our chimney and roof. Frankly, I was mad at myself for not taking earlier action. I have been enjoying porch-sitting for years and looking at that old dead tree, thinking that I needed to call the school to take it down. But I waited… and waited… and waited until crash, bang, boom, and $$!


Tackling Change Head-on

I am sure that by now you are getting the essence of my story. Bad things can happen when we are not looking for curveballs that strike us out. If I could only choose three words that express my feelings about addressing change head-on, they would be anticipation, readiness, and action.

My life, like most others, is full of times when change bested me. However, there are also many times when I took the appropriate action and achieved an optimum result. A recent example of this is TLG’s succession plan.

Bob and Lyn Turknett, TLG’s Co-founders, hired me in October 2018 as President & CEO. Prior to our agreement, I made it clear that I was making a five-year commitment. By setting that bogey, we all knew the score and therefore, anticipated, prepared, and acted when the time was right.

Over a year ago, we hired Tim Huff as a Senior Consultant with the idea that he could be the one to take the helm when I moved on. I had known Tim for over a decade and knew he had all the right ingredients to be an exceptional President and CEO. Over the last year, Bob and Lyn got to know Tim as well and they were sold. On August 1st, 2023, Tim was appointed President and I became the CEO to help ensure a smooth transition. The succession is going smashingly while the company continues to grow with few, if any, surprises.


Avoiding the What-Ifs

If we are playing the game of “what-if,” consider if I had kept my departure until giving the traditional one month’s notice. What if Bob and Lyn hadn’t fully embraced the change and jumped in to conduct their own assessment of Tim over the past year? Or what if our staff weren’t aware that a major change was on the horizon? What if Tim, not knowing the future, moved on to another company?

By setting a timeline and taking the right steps, we avoided these outcomes and instead are positioning the company for future success. Whether one likes it or not, change is inevitable. Conquer change by anticipating, preparing, and acting on it.



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