The other day while visiting the inspiring Glucksman Gallery in Cork, we noticed a poster with the caption: "FECK IT sure IT’S GRAND."
For our overseas visitors, this rather ironic Irish humour means something like "Mildly fuck it, things will be OK even though we know they're not going to really change."
This sparked about 45 conversations with my business partner Paul O' Mahony (thanks to Jane Boyd CEO of 45Conversations) on why change is good for us – even though we often don't like it.)
“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” – Jim Rohm
Everyday on Google, there are 3.5 billion pages on 'I want to change my life" + 3.2 billion on 'help to change my business'.
Clearly people have a massive need for change - both in their personal lives and at work.
When we’re at our best, we're fundamentally anti status quo - we believe that homogenised thinking is not good for people.
This isn't something ChangeAgents made up. It's core to who we all are.
What makes someone a designer?
Anyone who devises ways to change an existing situation into a more desirable one is a designer.
Every day, we work on change - changing relationships, products, services, brands, business futures - also ourselves.
We've changed jobs, changed countries, changed careers… even changed partners.... not to mention our fair share of diapers...
They say the only creature that likes change is a wet baby. This is borne out in a new book by Alan Deutschman – “Change or Die: The Three Key Ways to Change at Work and in Life” Alan decided to get to get to the bottom of what makes people & businesses able to change - especially after they've tried & failed.
There are interesting human insights on heart bypass patients. They must change their lifestyle or face repeated surgery - or death. A staggering nine out of ten don't make the changes that would save their lives - though the stakes couldn't are rather high.
You change for two reasons.
(1) you learn enough so that you want to
(2) you’ve been hurt enough that you have to
Although human are hard-wired for change - always alert for danger & looking for better outcomes – we’re also very risk averse. This often thwarts our best intentions.
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” - George Bernard Shaw
How do we get ourselves & our businesses to change – in 10 little steps:
1. Confront your comfort zones
Deep down nearly all of us like the comfort & safety of predictability.
This can be a poisoned chalice - because the more comfortable we are, the less able we are to change. [Has there been a wealthy, comfortable change agent?] The benefit of change has to be greater than the cost of staying the same.
2. Believe in change
Things will never change if we don't believe they can be changed. You need a motivation to change. You may be burning with desire to improve things, but you may be frustrated by obstacles & procrastinations in your way. If things are not working for you … stop, take stock & change the way you are acting.
3. Re-imagine your situation
We know we have to change when the predictability of the status quo is no longer attractive to us – and it’s become detestable.
4. Get into a 'No turning back position'
Start by signing up for something you've never done before - like Toastmasters or SmarterEgg. Create an immovable deadline. Tell others your intention. Commit, commit, commit. Invest in change financially & personally. Makes it impossible to turn back. [Remember Mrs Thatcher: “this lady’s not for turning”]
5. Take bold action
Change agents are willing to take bold action—and accept the consequences. You’ll attract pushback – you’re likely to take the brunt of it - if things go wrong. Becoming a change agent is not for the faint-hearted.
6. Narrow your focus
There are fewer options on the table when you are focused. Your energy becomes a chisel facing up to the demands of change. Your precious resources are risked for change - including money, finance, time, emotional energy & the support of people around you.
7. Keep positive momentum
Keep gaining & practicing new skills - propelled by something better, have hope & desire for something better. Hold on to that, while you deal with the loss. There is always loss – what you used have your old comfort zone.
8. Door opens, momentum kicks in
Change starts to become reality – the birth of adaptation – re-assessing where you're going - celebrating the process
Effort & cost is actually worth it - a sense of satisfaction - maybe even exhaustion from having managed the change successfully (remember what women go through when giving birth) & maybe a little regret.
9. Evaluate what's worked & what hasn't worked
Desire ongoing improvement to better the situation - forever.
At ChangeAgents we don't like change. We love it. We see it opening the doors to new opportunities we can't help thinking like this - it's in our blood - that's why we called the company ChangeAgents.
- What do you need to change?
- Are you ready for change?
- Remember the good things that come: new ideas, better jobs, more satisfying relationships, a healthy dose of excitement & fun - even more money with which to buy what you want.
- We'd love to hear from so please leave a comment or tweet @changeagents_ using #changeagents. Share with us what you've changed & how. Above all, the rewards are on the other side.