Change – do you need it and how do you approach it?

It’s the nature of the seasons. Without Winter there is no Spring and without Spring no Summer and who wouldn’t want the business equivalent of Summer? Whether it’s the crops in the fields, the business that has hit a plateau with its competitors hot on its heels, or the individual that has been doing the same job day-in-day-out for years, it doesn’t matter. Standing still is not an option if you want to maintain energy.

Maintaining the status quo by standing still for too long is like signing a death warrant on your business. It’s a sure fire way over time to create an environment where energy gets sapped and employees can become disengaged.

In essence change is required, in fact some would say it is the only constant, in the world of business today. With the knowledge of this inevitability many studies have been done to understand the human aspects within change. All the studies come from different perspectives and most contain nuggets of wisdom that can be useful. One such nugget that I find useful is the knowledge and awareness that unless a ‘must’ or a ‘need’ is present, then the likelihood of you making a change is minimal. This has been shown to be true in my own life as much as when I am in the role of coach working with business owners, entrepreneurs and leaders. As soon as I hear “I’m trying to…..”, “I should…..” or, “I’d like to….” then I know that something is missing to make it compelling enough for a change to be made. Noticing the language you use when talking about change either to your teams, family or even yourself, can make a world of difference in terms of whether anything actually happens.

How you talk about change gives many indicators as to how committed you are to making it reality. What are you committed to? I use the word commitment knowingly because it is a much stronger word than goal in my opinion. A commitment is more than a desire, it’s more than a goal and more than a responsibility. It has the heart of a lion and the head of a genius. If all of you is in the game then you are committed. It’s not something you can do from the sidelines or the terraces. You have to be on the pitch to score a goal. Commitments create motivation. They determine how we act and react when times get tough. Especially important in times of change.

If change is something you want to create then it’s useful to know that it only ever occurs in life or business when something either becomes too painful, or you are drawn towards a compelling vision of something that you want. It’s part of being human to stay in comfort as long as we can. As businesses are made up and run by human beings then the same can be said of them too. So to create change and thrive you must make sure that one side of the equation is being fed. Are you more motivated in change by the threat of pain or by the draw of the possible, the pleasure? Knowing your preference, and being aware that others have different drivers, can be the first step towards all that you want.

Now go do something, anything – remember ‘if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got’. So if you’ve decided that you want to make the choice to change then there’s no better time than today to get started.

Executive coach Sarah Lane, author of ‘Choices: from confusion to clarity’ (£14.99 Panoma Press) launches book to support business owners and leaders with supporting their people in creating the careers and lives they want.

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