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Cole Carley, former president and CEO of the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau, told a Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce audience Thursday that fear often comes along with change, but it need not stop necessary growth and development. Dave Olson / The Forum

Speaker: Fear need not trump exploring new opportunities

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FARGO - Fear and change often go together, but as frightening as it may be for some people, change is essential in life, Cole Carley told a Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce audience Thursday.

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And the best way to deal with that reality, he said, is to embrace it.

At the same time, Carley said it’s important to recognize that fear is also a reality and that part of a leader’s job is to help employees tackle worries that arise when change is in the air.

“Every decision you make for the people that serve with you makes ripples,” Carley said, adding that a good way to keep waves to a minimum is to include employees in the decision-making process, even if it only means soliciting ideas and really listening to what people have to say.

“That’s one of the best ways you can help them get over their fears,” Carley said. He said perhaps the best way to manage change is to be the one creating it, instead of reacting to it.

He said a good way to cope with change is to have a mind that is clear and open to new ideas. One way to do that, he said, is to occasionally take time to disconnect as much as possible from the hectic pace of modern life.

Carley, a former president and CEO of the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau, said he practices what he preaches. Once a year, he participates in a retreat where he and a group of other men remain completely silent for three days.

“I gotta tell you, it’s a very cleansing experience,” said Carley, who now operates a professional speaking business, Cole Carley Communicates.

He cited several examples of companies that clung too tightly to past successes and ways of doing things, including Eastman Kodak, which essentially invented the film photography industry and was the first to explore, yet fail to fully exploit, digital photography.

Today, he said, Kodak is a largely forgotten company, while one-time rival and digital-image success story Fuji is worth billions “because they turned their backs on the past.”

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Dave Olson
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