“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right.” – Henry Ford
It’s always interesting to me to think about people leaving their homes and sailing off across the ocean to who knows where. These days we just tell our phone where we’re headed and off we go. Real change isn’t usually like that. You may know where you want to go, but there is still a lot of uncertainty and fear. There are any number of tangible things that can and sometimes do go wrong.
On top of that there are intangible things that trip us up. Our beliefs about the change we’re trying to make and change in general can smooth the way or create all kinds of problems. Given that our beliefs drive our behavior, it’s important to get those beliefs in line. Here are 3 things to think about.
Significant others. We often spend time trying to convince our people or ourselves that change is important and necessary. But there are a lot of people whose opinions influence our beliefs. People at home, people at work, people in our social universe. If those significant others aren’t on board, you’re in trouble. As a leader, what kinds of things could you do to reach and influence key significant others?
Attitude. By attitude I mean either your attitude about the specific change you’re making or about change in general. For example, think about a typical standard deviation curve. A certain segment of people will love every change; a larger segment will wait and see; another large segment will wait and see some more; and a few will be opposed to every change no matter what it is. Where do your people fall on that curve? Think of a specific change you’re trying to make right now and the people directly involved – where do they fall on the curve?
Perceived Difficulty. People already have full time jobs. If you just pile on more stuff, they’re going to feel like there’s no possible way they have the time/energy/resources to make successful change happen. They’re going to perceive that it’s next to impossible, or at least will be incredibly unpleasant. What are you doing to free up their time so they can effectively make change happen? What are you doing to demonstrate to them that you’ll provide them the resources to make this change doable?
Our beliefs drive our behavior. That’s true in every situation, and it’s certainly true in regards to change. So what do you believe?