Making a Change - 8 questions and answers for sustainable growth

Current situation

We are currently going through a period of many changes. Social, health, financial, professional. We have a virus that limits us, creating unprecedented feelings within us and around us. We spend a lot of time alone, or with people which before we did not, at home, isolated. We do not see friends and communication is now through a computer. In order to get out we have to follow a routine, one which many of us do not agree with, feeling limited. Many businesses have closed down and there are more financial challenges to come.

All this creates fear along with anger, resentment coupled with sadness and insecurity. And on top of that we have the media, bombarding us with negativity, creating and further enhancing phobias. In moments of crisis, the need for change, multiplies. So, how is this change being addressed by you and your team?

In this block I examine 8 questions about change and the challenges that come with it. I propose solutions at a personal and team level, why we need to change, dealing with the fear of change, how to develop a change mindset, making a sustainable change on four levels. I discuss shifting into change mode, the difference between ownership and authorship and fake vs real change. To conclude I talk about results and the “what if scenarios”.

The tips and methodology I use are from personal experience, coupled with research from a number of experts. For over 20 years working with small and medium-size companies, while “microconsulting” those to achieve fast and sustainable growth, change is always at the heart of growth.

As Confucius said, tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I will understand. Theory is one thing and practice is another. I have included exercises to help with fostering and transition to change. All of the exercises take minutes to do. My advice is to do them all; you have nothing to lose and everything to gain as.

You can print this blog and do them in writing. It will help you to get comfortable with change, including adjusting mindsets. This is imperative and the first step to everything else.

1. How does change start

Someone usually will get up and say: We do not have to do it like this, I got a better idea, another tech, a new way to see the world, face this challenge, deal with this problem. Some people will then get excited, but eventually many of them will give you feedback that goes along the lines of:

Now it’s not a good time, we did it before and it did not work, it’s never been done, this is not the right place, the head office/boss will not go for it, this is not the way we do things around here, it Is complicated, we do not have the budget, its political, its historical, its traditional, it is not our problem, it is not our job, they might even say….it is not in our DNA or in our culture, we cannot do this.

All the above are different ways of saying: It’s not going to happen.

Working in the innovation space, I am intrigued by this wall and how do we get past it. Doing so will allow you to get your passion and ideas and make them happen. Grow.

Change is a very powerful coach. But you have to develop the right mindset. There are two different types of changes. Planned and unplanned. In either of them you cannot know the results. When going through change however, think of “Kintsugi”, the Japanese art for the repair of a broken ceramic, with gold. Embracing flaws and imperfections so that you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art. A better you.

There are six steps to behavior change, so you can prepare if you are aware of those. Those are:

  1. Precontemplation: Denial, being too aware of the problem but you do not want to face it. It is almost impossible to see a way forward.

  2. Contemplation: Now you are aware of the problem, you know you have to do something. There is no choice.

  3. Preparation: You start taking matters into your own hands. Mindset change.

  4. Action: You start to practice the desired behavior, the magic starts happening. You can find your purpose here, leading to the new you, and in the process make a difference to others too.

  5. Maintenance: You work on sustaining the behavior change, making life changes, managing a new you, your new life.

  6. Termination: Here you have formed new habits and growth takes place. The change is complete and part of you.

The rule with change is that you should never compare your life now, with what was yesterday, before the change. Do not let change go to waste. Do not hide your scars. Fill them up with your previous experiences.