How Do You Inspire Change?
Many people like to fancy themselves as agents of change. The engine that keeps the company going. The master of forward progress. The catalyst of forward motion. That’s all well and good. Change is needful in any culture, organization, or group. Especially in today’s ever changing environment. But, the question has to be asked, ‘What type of change agent are you?’
I embrace clichés and bits of wisdom and try to make them a part of my life. One of my favorites is that…
“People change when they hurt enough they have to or learn enough they know they can”
So again the question is, how do you initiate change around you? One way is to make stagnancy painful, or to focus on punishing those who won’t get on your train. This method is often assumed from an authoritative posture, and includes terms of inspiration such as ‘Do it or else’. Those we lead and manage are expected to adapt and follow because their life we be unbearable, or at least unpleasant, if they don’t. The problem with this model is it is short lived. Just ask any enrollment manager at a gym or a doctor. People often move towards changes in exercise and lifestyle when medical conditions dictate it. That gall bladder bout screams of no more fried chicken when it means harsh pain. Let the pain subside and fried chicken here we come. The action or behavior is only modified short term when pain is present. This can be exhausting for someone leading change from this model. Constantly creating unpleasant, punishing situations demands energy that could be placed elsewhere.
By contrast the second model of change, ‘learn enough they know they can’, proves to be a lasting redirection. Properly training and educating an individual can help them deeply accept and make changes. Inspiring change is by far more productive than inflicting changing. That is where coaching becomes important. Education alone often is not adequate to lead those around us to the promised land of change. Encouragement, coaching, and leading can make for lasting change that produces winners, and a winning culture. Thoroughly communicating the benefits (value) of impending changes can help your team adapt more quickly. Don’t assume your investment will be wasted. It will make the difference between getting where you want to go, or having to travel the same trail again at a future date. Try it. I am sure you will see the difference.
Have a great day, enjoy!
– written by James Anderson
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