Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Making That Change

You’ve now planned 2014!  You’ve identified some things you wish to do differently and set yourself some aspirations – whether significant or minor.  Your Goals!

You’ve effectively set yourself a professional new year’s resolution.  As humans, we typically don’t have great success with resolutions.  We have the foresight, but often fail on the execution 

How do you make these planned changes stick and be successful


Setting a goal is easy - understanding why you're doing it is crucial.  Most goals don't get achieved because when set, there wasn't the conviction around why they are important to you.  Ever done a task you don't want to do but had to?  Ever done a task you really wanted to do?  What was the difference in outcome?  You probably achieved both - but guaranteed one was far more fun, done quicker, more efficiently, with less procrastination and to a better level.

Your goals should be YOURS!.  Not your works, not your friends or families, not social pressure....Yours.  Own them and more importantly what achieving them provides you.

Can’t V Won’t

You need to determine if what you’re trying to change/achieve is something you can’t or won’t do.  If it is can’t – you need to develop the skills to do it.  No amount of thinking it will make it happen, you need to take steps to bridge the gap so you can do it. 

If it is won’t, you need to address the reasons behind any blockages preventing you from doing it.  This may be sitting with someone who does it regularly to de-threaten the task.  It may be as simple as doing it regularly until it becomes easier.

Can't is a skill set issue, Won't is a mindset one.  Sometimes Can't it also a mindset issue as you can have the skills but not the confidence in them to achieve the goal, or not know you have the skills. 

Knowing which of these apply (and both can) is important to determining how you effect the change

As a manager, this is important as you need to know when to direct, when to support, when to delegate and when to lead (Will/Skill Matrix).

Don’t Boil the Ocean

A great example of this is deciding to run a marathon.  You don’t just make this choice and go out and run 42km the following day – rather, you set incremental goals to gradually take you to the end goal.

Professionally, the approach is exactly the same.  Take you goal and break it down in to regular, daily behaviours.  Make it simple and manageable on a daily basis.  More importantly, it focuses you on what you need to do to hit the goal – the means – not on the goal itself.  

Using the marathon analogy – a good runner knows they need be prepared, stay hydrated, maintain a fixed cadence and consider their breathing.  In doing this, the distance will take care of itself.  Same goes in sales – if you distil your goals to daily behaviours, you should remain confident the goal will be achieved if the behaviours are sound. 


As humans – inertia comes easy.  So therefore saying you’ll make change doesn’t make it happen.  Similarly, constant action is required to achieve the outcome.  You will potentially fail initially and improve over time and it won’t always be a straight line to success.   There is often a ‘J Curve’ of change – where you go backwards initially as you adjust to new process, style, etc.  Over time you get better at it and you see the successes.  Tenacity and belief is required to get through this until the change becomes normal.

Goal Setting

There were two things that were explained to me in goal setting which I’ll never forget:

1.                  It must be positive
2.                  It must be a vision of what you see yourself (in present tense)

For example
NOT:                 I won’t be a negative team member
RATHER:           I am a positive and present team member

Emphasise the positive words and maintain them in the present tense.  Reinforce them daily – a journey is usually easier if the destination if known and you already see it in your minds eye.

Finally, review your goals.  Goals can become unrealistic if things change or, ideally, you hit them sooner than you expected.  As you grow, your goals should grow with you. 

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