Change is inevitable. Change is good. Change is bad. Change is coming. I don’t like change. Whatever your viewpoint is about change, it’s a reality of life. Change happens in our professional lives, in our personal lives, when we’re children, and when we’re adults. It surrounds us. The key is how you as an individual react to change. A reader recently sent me a story about the bald eagle’s 150 days of “rebirth” that allows the bird to have an additional thirty years of life. Well, it turns out that the story is an urban legend but the message got me thinking about our ability to endure change in our lives and the “lows” we discipline ourselves through in order to come out on the other side a better, more fulfilled person.
Probably the biggest implementor of change is the Federal Government with issues ranging from voting for a new leader in the latest election to censorship on internet search engines. OPM Director, John Berry recently delivered the commencement speech at the University of Maryland. His comments were rather inspiring. He discussed the changes that have incurred in government over the past 30 years touching base on how public officials, both Republican and Democrat used to work together to get things done and how “thinking through solutions and arriving at compromises that make the best sense for our country” was what inspired federal leaders. If you haven’t listened to his comments on YouTube or read the entire speech, I highly encourage you to do so.
So how do we make change a positive success in our lives rather than a daunting task? In the book, Who Killed Change, co-authors share 13 foundations that can support your change effort.
- Culture – defines the predominant attitudes, beliefs and behavior patterns that characterize the organization
- Commitment – builds a person’s motivation and confidence to engage in the new behaviors required by the change
- Sponsorship – a senior leader who has the formal authority to deploy resources toward the initiation, implementation and sustainability of the change; ultimately responsible for the success of the change
- Change Leadership Team – actively leads the change into the organization by speaking with one voice and resolving the concerns of those being asked to change
- Communication – creates opportunities for dialogue with change leaders and those being asked to change
- Urgency – explains why the change is needed and how quickly people must change the way they work
- Vision – paints a clear and compelling picture of the future after change has been integrated
- Plan – clarifies the priority of the change relative to other initiatives and responsibilities; works with those being asked to change to develop a detailed and realistic implementation plan, then to define and build the infrastructure needed to support the change
- Budget – analyzes proposed changes from a financial perspective to determine how best to allocate limited resources and ensure a healthy return on investment
- Trainer – provides learning experiences to ensure those being asked to change have the skills needed to follow through with the change and succeed in the future organization
- Incentive – recognizes and/or rewards people to reinforce desired behaviors and results that enable change
- Performance management – sets goals and expectations regarding behaviors and results that enable change, tracks progress toward the goals and expectations, provides feedback and training and formally documents actual results versus desired results
- Accountability – follows through with people to ensure their behaviors and results are in line with agreed upon goals and expectations and that leaders are walking the talk, and institutes consequences when behaviors or results are inconsistent with those that enable change
There you have it, 13 reinforcements that you can work on this summer to make some changes for the better.
What changes, if any, do you plan on making in the next 150 days?