Change is hard. Change requires us to think differently. Change requires vulnerability. Change requires taking action. Change involves risk.
Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book Immunity to Change:
“Today, organizations need not only an unprecedently higher level of knowledge and skill among all those who participate, but also a higher level of independence, self-reliance, self-trust, and the capacity to exercise initiative.”
More valid words have not been spoken. We are in times of rapid change. Understanding why we have an immunity to change, whether at a corporate or individual level, is critical to our success. One of my clients’ most significant challenges is self-trust in their ability to follow through on initiatives. Why is that? Essentially it is not skill-related but more emotion-based.
What is the emotion underlying the change? Understanding this emotional dynamic requires connecting the head (thinking) and heart (feeling). Although we may clearly understand the need for change (thinking), there is an underlying safety concern: we may not survive the change (emotionally).
The key may be in understanding that making large-scale change is a series of small-scale changes and rewards and confidence (emotion) gained along the way.
Let’s break this down:
“I want to become a more approachable leader.”
Unfortunately, our thinking may create negative, limiting beliefs. “My efforts will be rejected.” “I don’t know how to connect with my employees.” “Even if I try, nothing’s going to change.”
Our immunity to change is our head telling us we won’t survive it, although our heart believes it’s the right thing to do. So how can we change our thinking mindset to align with our emotional goals?
Define the commitment.
“I will become the leader my team can trust.”
Become an observer of your thoughts and behavior.
“When I started meeting one-on-one with team members, I could address their concerns. As a result, they became more open and honest with me. The connection made me feel competent and created greater connection and trust with my team.”
Focus on what’s possible.
“By continuing to be an “open door” leader, my team will come to me with concerns before large-scale problems arise, saving both emotional and financial tolls.”
Define what success will mean.
“When my team trusts me, our company will become an enjoyable and profitable workplace.”
I appreciated the “continuum of progress” Immunity to Change focuses on (progress, not perfection).
- Define the commitment: Becoming a leader people trust.
- First steps forward: Meet with the team members one-on-one every other week.
- Significant progress: My team trusts me with the challenges they are facing before problems arise.
- Success: Our company is a desirable and profitable place to work.
There are many more significant thoughts, examples, and exercises presented in Immunity to Change that may well help highlight what’s been standing in the way of your success.
What goal could you accomplish by implementing this four-step continuum of progress? What action can you take today to make it happen?
Cindy Jobs, PCAC, ACC
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