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Creating lasting change is something many of us find difficult. If it was so easy none of us would need to lose weight, or keep smoking despite wanting to give it up, or continue to have disastrous relationships, or work too hard, or continue to make New Year’s resolutions which they fail to keep. 

How often have you decided you need to do something to change your life, go on a diet, meet more people, give up listening to that negative voice in your head or cut down on your work commitments to find yourself opening the biscuit barrel or booking another appointment almost immediately. 

How often do you find yourself thinking I’ve broken my resolution so I might as well have another..?

Creating lasting change is so much easier if you stick to the principles outlined below.

1) Be clear about what you want to change and why

Understand what is going well in your life. What is it you want more of? What is it you hate about your life and want to change? What difference would the change make to your life if you achieved it? The most dramatic changes happen when “shoulds” become “musts”.

2) Believe it is possible to make the change.

Think about other examples within your life of how you have succeeded in changing. Many of the changes seemed impossible – yet you did it. 

3) Set clear, specific goals. 

The more specific you are about what it is you want to do the easier it is to plan how to do it and to measure your success once you have achieved it.

4) Imagine Your Success is a reality.

Imagine yourself at a time in the future when you have succeeded in making the change. 

How is it different? How do you feel about the fact you have succeeded? Remember nothing succeeds like success. Use yours to help you believe you can make this future change.

5) You get what you focus on.

If you want a brilliant relationship but you only focus on work or financial success you are far less likely to achieve a brilliant relationship. Set aside time and energy to make things happen.

6) Take action

Things will not change unless you make the decision to do things differently. Many of us do the single grand gesture and then loose interest. It is the small actions taken consistently which make a sustained difference. 

7) Ask for help

We have no hesitation in calling for a car mechanic or heating engineer when we want to sort our car or our heating out yet when we want to make fundamental changes to our lives we try to do it alone.

Work with a coach, a personal trainer or mentor. They can help you clarify your thinking, set goals, plan how to achieve them and hold you accountable for the choices you make. If you think it too expensive think of the cost to the quality of your life of not achieving your desired outcome.

8) Surround yourself with positive people

If you want to give up something, drinking, smoking perhaps you will find it easier to spend time with people who do not smoke or drink heavily. If you want to do something seek those who do it already and model their behaviours.

9) Maintain the pace

What action can you take today to start your journey to success? Remember even the longest journeys start with the first step. Where do you want to be in 4 weeks time, in three months, by the end of the year? Set milestones so you can measure your progress. Make them achievable but with a level of challenge. If you experience a set back recalibrate your milestones rather than give up.

10) Celebrate your success

Celebrate each small victory. Create celebrations which support rather than work against your goal. Positive reinforcement is a powerful motivator. 

Consider your life. What can you do to make a lasting change in your life?


Organizations - Creating The Ideal Conditions For organizational Change

It is an organizations ability to manage change effectively which will determine whether it succeeds in the long term or not. Change is ongoing and yet all too often it is dealt with in a way which leaves the organization in a difficult place and individuals feeling traumatized and exhausted.

There is now a huge industry set up to orchestrate and manage change, a language which is trotted out by different consultants which have a flavour of ‘Emperors New Clothes.’ Despite all of this all too often change is handled badly. I believe there are some fundamental principles which are at the heart of managing change well.

1) Be clear about what it is you want to achieve and why. 

That vision is what will sustain you through the turbulent times. It must be worthwhile, sit well with the values of the company and its employees and be shared by those who are working to deliver it. 

2) Share that vision and engage staff in it.

People need to understand what the core purpose of the organization actually is and the values which are important in delivering that purpose. If change is needed stick to the principle of sharing and involving staff throughout the process. If people take ownership of the need to change they will be far more prepared to embrace it. 

So many top down changes fail to win over the staff and in doing so achieve limited results. I have been surprised at the number of times people are involved in massive change programmes but no one seems to be clear why the changes are being introduced or what they hope to be achieved by the change.

3) Create a culture where constant ongoing development is seen as a positive thing. 

Change is then seen simply part of the ongoing process rather than something to be feared. 

4) Introduce changes only when it is clear that they will enhance an organizations ability to deliver their core purpose. 

Ongoing monitoring and thorough evaluation of performance facilitate this process. Knee jerk changes should be avoided. 

5) Before any major change takes place there must be a thorough audit of the status quo. 

Celebrate the things which ate done well and protect them. Too many babies are thrown out with the bath water. Many fundamental changes create a model which fails to be any more effective than the old one and has the added problem of alienating those who are to deliver it and the clients who use it.

6) Be clear about the scale of change needed. 

Do you need a complete restructure or make changes to an existing one? There are so many examples in both the public and private sector where organizations are constantly reinventing themselves. Nothing is ever given time to settle and huge amounts of money, time, energy and good will are wasted in the process.

7) Understand the impact of change on your people. 

Use this knowledge to support the change process.

To do this you need to understand what drives and motivates people. Two of the major motivators in life are certainty and uncertainty. Everyone needs both but in different ways. If you are implementing or managing change understandingthis principle can make a significant difference to the levels of stress created for you and your staff.

Certainty at its most basic level is the drive we all have for security. We need to know we have shelter, food and that we are safe. It is absolutely fundamental. We all need certainty but it is the level of certainty each individual needs which will determine their ability to handle change.

The paradox is that we also need a level of uncertainty in our lives. Another way of looking at it is the need for variety. Variety is said to be the spice of life. Too little - life is boring, bland and uninteresting. To much and we get indigestion.

Some people crave new experiences, they hurl themselves out of planes, explore new potentially dangerous places where others choose to go to the same hotel year after year as they like to know exactly what to expect.

Once this principle is understood it is possible to present any change in a ways which work with the individuals need for certainty or uncertainty. Selling the benefits of any change to staff needs to take account of differing needs. The challenge and variety of experience will appeal to one, whist the greater financially security created will be of greater importance to another. 

Even when news is bad – perhaps the need for redundancies or closure it is better to keep the staff informed. People can handle bad news presented well but find the not knowing and fearing the worst torture.

8) Use the knowledge and expertise which exists within your organization. 

Those at the grass roots have much to offer. Make them part of the solution, Encourage your staff to be creative If they understand what you are trying to achieve and why it is important they will be able to bring their understanding of the process and the likely impact of any action.

9) Act with integrity. 

Trust between management and staff and your staff and clients is vital. Treat people fairly and consistently at all times. Make the criteria for redundancy or cuts absolutely transparent so everyone understands why you have made the decisions. They may not like it but they will appreciate the need for it and they way it has been handled.

10) Monitor the impact of the changes as you make them and evaluate their impact. 

The cycle should be ongoing.


Recommended Reading

"The Power of Awareness"
by Neville Goddard

If you would like to explore how you shape your experiences to create the life you want then this is the book for you. 

Neville helps you to identify the traps and excuses which get in the way of your ultimate success. It offers a spiritual way to understand just how powerful you really are, how to find true freedom where you make the most of the possibilities life offers.

 

"How YOU Can Manage Your Staff More Effectively (And Pave The Way To Your Next Promotion)" by Gina Gardiner

Offers lots of practical strategies for managers to help get the very best of their staff as individuals and as a team.

Everything in the book has been tried and tested in a variety of organizations; it is a distillation of over 30 years experience of developing leadership at every level.

The book does not attempt to teach grandmothers or grandfathers to suck eggs, but offers tried and tested principles, strategies and ideas which have been proven to work.

Time, energy and money are all very precious resources and all three seem to be in short supply for most busy managers.

How YOU Can Manage Your Staff More Effectively (And Pave The Way To Your Next Promotion) Can help! Dip into it if you are facing specific issues or use the comprehensive approach to underpin ongoing and sustained individual and team development.

It has relevance for experienced managers who want to share good practice and for aspiring leaders who want to develop and deepen their leadership skills.

The book covers a wide range of issues including:

  • Developing strategic vision

  • Creating your dream team

  • Creating a ‘Can Do’ culture

  • Effective delegation

  • Holding people to account

  • Developing a solutions approach

  • The power of anticipation

  • Giving positive feedback

  • Having those “hard conversations”

  • Managing stress for you and your team

  • Creating a good work life balance

     

How YOU Can Manage Your Staff More Effectively (And Pave The Way To Your Next Promotion) will stand alone but you will find it useful to use it in conjunction with the companion book Kick Start Your Career.

 

"Kick Start Your Career" by Gina Gardiner

This book is designed for new initiates into the business world and graduates who are ambitious and want to create a successful career for themselves. It is a no nonsense, jargon free manual, full of practical ideas and strategies to support the development of leadership from day one.

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