Change is hard. Change is messy. Change is different for everyone.
Change is hard. Change is messy. Change is different for everyone. There are real emotions that we need to consider on the journey. Change needs to be orchestrated and deliberate.
The emotional journey of creating anything great
Getting to the point of realising that you need to change is not easy and takes work. You need to first acknowledge that there is something to change.
In the context of individual change, this requires self-awareness and confidence. What do you need to unlearn to relearn? And why? Fear and ego often delay getting started.
In the context of an organisational change, this requires data. We often start by running a diagnostic to understand the situation. We understand why you need to change, what outcomes you need to deliver, and what is getting in your way of delivering those outcomes. Fear and ‘no time to improve’ often delay getting started.
Next, you need to identify how you will change. What will you test and experiment with? Make the change as small as possible. I try not to flip the world we are working within totally on its head. This makes it less scary. This kick offs the journey with excitement as ‘this is the best idea ever’.
The emotional journey
Now that you’ve started, the emotional journey of creating anything great is not linear. It is a squiggly journey.
As many of us have experienced first-hand, we quickly transition from excitement to doubt to overwhelmed to anger and then to despair.
To avoid falling into the pit of despair, there are building blocks that are needed to create the bridge. These building blocks include:
Belief in the ‘why’
Persistence + Grit + Resilience
Passion + Humour + Empathy + Kindness
Accountability and incentive to change
Tapping into our intrinsic motivation is essential by having clarity in the ‘why’. In the context of organisational change, this means that there will be the enterprise ‘why’ and the individual ‘why’. We need to understand what is in it for me. The ‘why’ gives our persistence, grit and resilience meaning and purpose.
Change is tough. Our humanness should not be underestimated. Empathy and kindness are needed to provide encouragement and support along the way. I try not to take myself too seriously. Humour is a powerful tool to neutralise the tension and uplift. Being supported by a team means that the tough moments suck less, and the awesome moments are even better. Part of the role that I often play when I support leaders and teams to change their ways of working is to listen. This is what I call ‘WoW therapy’.
Finally, sustainable change only happens when we are accountable to act. This means that we need to be incentivised to change. It needs to be an enterprise outcome to improve ‘how we do what you do’ that is included as a strategic objective in annual planning. It needs to be a personal outcome that is included in an individual’s performance plan. Both need to be measurable. Without it, passion will only take us so far.
As you cross the bridge and change is being accepted, celebrate. Every. Single. Bit. Counts. No matter the size. Recognise how far you have come and the learnings that you’ve had. Share your story. By communicating the outcomes from the change, you are creating a learning environment and providing motivation for someone else’s starting point.
The journey doesn’t end
The journey to doing great things and being great never ends. Keep on changing!
If you found this article useful you might be interested in additional Sooner Safer Happier learning resources on this topic