Five Strategies for Changing Others
It’s “Sprinter” in Central Pennsylvania. Spring isn’t here. Winter hangs on. One day it’s sunny and warm. Yesterday it snowed!
Change comes slowly. Winter won’t let Spring arrive. It’s the time of uncertainty and reluctance.
Unwilling to change is arrogant resistance, fearful reluctance, or ignorant blindness. Or maybe the present is just fine.
My preference is changing others not me. Changing others enhances potential and extends capacity. Changing others feels like adding new brush strokes to paintings.
Changing me, on the other hand, feels like drilling cavities without Novocain.
Seeing Oz or not:
My focus on the future makes me wonder why you resist change. Can’t you see the glow of Oz just around the corner?
While I see Oz, you’re seeing Kansas and it looks pretty damn good compared to a fuzzy glow in the distance.
Your dreams don’t change others until others dream them.
I think about reaching forward and feel excitement. You think about letting go and feel afraid.
How to change others:
- Work on changing you before others. Go no further until you’ve made changes!
- Don’t demonize Kansas unless it’s already disappointing. Criticizing an acceptable present to those who built it makes enemies not allies.
- Celebrate the people and behaviors that built the present. They build the future. Don’t insult them.
- Talk about Oz in the language of Kansas. Connect with their passion to make a difference. Ignite aspirations. Often, inspiring others centers on helping others find courage.
- Paint others in the picture. Help them see where they fit in. Connect current passion with future possibility. When people see themselves in the future they find courage to release the past.
Change begins by imagining new futures. Belief in the future releases Spring’s life. But, clinging to the present strengthens Winter’s grip.
How can leaders become effective agents of change?
The Vision reveals the Mission and the Goals along the way.
Although, the clarity is irrelevant and wasted if I am unwilling to believe and act… if I will-not change I can-not progress.
Thank You Dan!
Thank you Ted. “if I will not change I cannot progress” = powerful!
Great perspective. Really like the discussion on Oz… No matter how amazing we might know something to be, others will fear or doubt it until they can experience for themselves. Painting the picture of Oz in the terminology of Kansas is a great way to close the gap… It is hard to describe a rainbow when everyone around you is seeing in black and white.
Thank you Mike. The comparison of color to black and white really captures the challenge of inspiring shared vision.
Morning Dan top of the day to ya!!!!
Ok for starters I can’t change anyone, my opinion , cept little ole me.
What I can do is work to have my own house in order. Treat other people like I would like them to treat me. Eat healthy and excercise , continue accepting I have given up chemical peace of mind and be good person with good posture.
People change themselves when they determine it is in their best interest to do so and other people do not and cannot do it for them or too them.
Think about it I excercise , do they loose weight? If I stand up and sit straight do they have good posture??? If I drink alcohol do they get drunk?
Personal responsibility is a biggie with me, one of the main reasons I am sober and clean today. Can’t blame others or wait for someone else to do for me what I see needs doing.
Anyway my two cents worth, take what you like and leave the rest.
My opinion and my opinion only, doesn’t mean your right or wrong or mine right or wrong. Like the dude says, ” it is just like my opinion man”.
Have a good one!!!
Thank you Scott.
The title of today’s post is tongue and cheek. Although we cannot change others we can create environments and engage in behaviors that make it easier and more likely that others will change themselves.
Always a pleasure.
Hi Dan , I totally agree and well said.
Heels 8 seed!!!!! Yiiippppeeee!!!!
Bout time for an 8 seed to take it all!!!
What an admonishment for up-and-coming leaders! My favorite point is that we shouldn’t demonize our present circumstance in front of or to the people who built it. Definitely something I need to work on. Thanks for your constant encouragement, Dan!
Thank you Justin.
I’ve been guilty of demonizing the present as a method to motivate people to reach for a new future… guess how that works!! 🙂 It’s a painful lesson.
Wonderful post, Dan, thank you. The point about not demonizing the present to the people who built it was also important to me.
I also am pondering the fact that Dorothy invited people to come along after listening to their stories and appealing to what she heard.
Thank you Susan.
It’s been years since I watched the Wizard of Oz but your comment about how Dorothy invited followers makes me want to watch it again… Love it.
Thinking to change others without changing self may not work.I agree with your concept of changing self before changing others. I also agree that others should see your dream then only change will take place. The whole process starts with belief in goal. When people see and believe in goal together, the process of change starts. People need evidence for the need to change. They need to see what will happen when they start changing. And leaders need to show example that can create belief in others. That is why leaders create surroundings full of examples that others can connect with it. Alternatively, in absence of examples, leaders gel with followers to intensify effort for expected outcomes. Leaders show that they are not different from others. In fact others believe that leader is not different from others in terms of making effort.
I always believe that leaders are generally change agents. They initiate and influence change process. The process is very challenging as people initially resist with inertia. Leaders overcome these inertia by their effort, determination, will power and believing in their goal. The one best way to create positive change is the unyielding believe in self. Any one who has strong believe in self effort and will power can make even bigger change around,
Thank you Ajay.
Your inclusion of using examples really nails a concept I completely excluded from this post. Powerful add!
Little Billy is sitting at the breakfast table and Mom gives him his oatmeal. Billy takes a spoonful, looks up and says, “Mom, Oatmeal cold.”
Mom is shocked because Billy has never said anything before. She calms down enough to ask him, “Billy! Why have you never talked before?” and Billy says,
“Up ’til now, everything been okay.”
There are two caterpillars sitting on top of a wagon rolling along and this beautiful butterfly floats by. The one caterpillar says to the other, “You’ll Never get ME up in one of those things.”
For that latter joke, I have actually collected 20 different punchlines, but most people stop thinking when they “get” the joke.
It all lends itself to Dan’s theme that there are a wide variety of different issues when it comes to change, innovation and improvement.
I tend to focus on the gap between how things are and how things could be and creating a level of discomfort with the way things are now. Teaching The Caterpillar to Fly is my general model for all this stuff and you can find articles online.
You can find it on my articles page at http://www.performancemanagementcompany.com/category_s/105.htm
For the FUN of It!
Thank you Dr. Scott.
Love the “jokes” even if they are uncomfortably true.
Thanks for adding creating dissatisfaction with he present. It’s a challenging task.
Oh, just a personal comment:
I used to think I really LIKED change, and I think I actually did. Doing things differently was pretty easy. Learning new software sounded like fun.
But as approach my current age of “Geezer”, I tend to line up more with what Dilbert said:
“Change is good. You go first.”
I need a pretty good reason to do something differently. That old Canvas graphics program stopped running on my Mac OS long ago, which is why I keep an old iMac around to use it. Learn Illustrator now? Why??? Do I really need GPS?
“If you always do what you’ve always done,
you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.”
That actually does not sound all that bad to me!
Hey Doc, luv the Dilbert quote!
For me I don’t mind getting the same thing if I like what I am getting.
What gets me steamed like Yosimite Sam, remember when he got all flustered with Bugs? What gets me going is folks whining about what they are giving themselves and not being willing to do anything different!!!
You see a human banging themselves with a hammer, blood, skin, hair, brain matter splattered on the wall and they whine saying they really don’t like it!!!!! Why do they keep doing it then?
I do have the answer that makes sense to me…what is familiar to them even though uncomfortable is preferable to the fear of the unknown.
Anyways i am getting older too so know exactly what you mean.
I read the Dilbert quote to my wife! 🙂
Mahatma Gandhi quote Springs too mind. “Be the Cahnge that you want to see in the world.”
I used to think I was very good at dealing with change. Then one day I realized I was good at change… as long as it was my idea.
Oddly enough, realizing that made it easier to deal with the changes that were not my idea.
I would be willing to bet that a lot of “change agents” are really just practicing pre-emptive change.
Thank you Susan,
I used to think I was good at change, too.
I think many change agents need to change.
One of the biggest communication mistakes I made when I was younger, was to deliver a solution (change) in it’s entirety, and expect others to embrace it because it made sense (to me) and would ensure a positive outcome (from my perspective).
One day I was invited (for the first time) to something like the fourth in a series of meetings, and about 10-minutes into it, I delivered my idea for a solution. There was dead silence for about thirty-seconds, and my boss said, “Well, we just spent three meetings in three-weeks trying to figure this out, and Petruzzi solves it in a couple of minutes.”
As she went on to next steps, I didn’t feel so good. Why didn’t I feel so good?
Something in me was suddenly awake and aware: I had given everyone their excuse to compare themselves to me, not like me, not like my idea, and not support it. It simple terms, I had just acted like a jerk.
From that point on, gradually, I tuned my approach. If I did have a vision that I thought had merit, I would see if I could tease that perspective out of others, and we’d tune it together as we went along.
What I came to realize is is that, for leaders to lead change most effectively, they must see it like any other form of engagement: the highest levels of success means having/getting emotional buy-in.
More important, is that *I* am not as important as solving the problem. Or rather, when I am feeling worthy, I don’t need to be seen as important.
As a teacher of mine once said, “It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we don’t care who get’s the credit for it.”
Of course, lot depends on the environment. If you are under mortar fire, you can dispense with formalities, as you try to keep your life and your wits. Others will see/feel where you are coming from.
If you are in the fifth of five meetings, and people are keying their smartphones under the desk, you can’t hope for effective change until you get them emotionally interested, and you’d better be deft about getting their attention and engaging them.
I really enjoyed reading this one. 🙂
Thank you Mark.
You had me at the first paragraph.
When I “know” the solution I can barely keep quiet. Knowledge is a terrible burden. Clarity may be an even heavier burden. HOWEVER, experience shows I may not be as clear or know as much as I think.
Regardless of whether I’m right or wrong… engaging people in the change is the only way to expect them to embrace the change. How simple…even if it is under utilized.
Thanks for sharing your story and for consistently adding value.
Spot on, Mr Petruzzi.
I always regret rushing to be understood first rather than using my focus to understand first.
Thank you, Ted & Dan!
I thought this was a very fun topic because it translates not only in the workplace but in our personal lives too! These tips in changing people are defining qualities of an “inspirational” leader.
… “Changing me, on the other hand, feels like drilling cavities without Novocain.” hahahaha, I almost lost my mouthful of coffee on this one – thx for the laugh 🙂
Another good one, Dan! It’s really unfortunate how often we forget number 3, “Celebrate the people and behaviors that built the present. They build the future. Don’t insult them.”
Changing an organization puts extra strains on people#s loyalties too. I see companies celebrating the departure of people who jump ship when the seas get rough with lavish going away parties, while loyalty anniversaries of those that remain loyal and are manning the pumps get passed by with hardly a mention.
It’s easy for someone to book their own trip to Oz by finding a new employer, but it is far more rewarding to make the journey as a group, collecting new colleagues along the way and overcoming all the challenges together through by combining the strengths and skills of the team.
The reward will not only be “Oz” but it will also be the personal reward everyone feels when they realize how the journey has not only changed others, it has changed them too.
Could stay as the ‘frog’ in the boil a frog’ metaphor – or…
This is really a fantastic subject especially when you consider that change is the norm in todays business environment. There have been many books written on just this one subject. The 4 I’s in Transformational Leadership is really a good thing to study when it comes to change leadership. I almost have a doctorate in organizational leadership (just three chapters away) and I can tell you that this is a big topic and a very important one. One thing I can add to this is the ability to communicate the vision to your team or organization. This is not as easy as it sounds and yes there are books written on this as well.
Being a Kansas sunflower, loved your statement …”Don’t demonize Kansas ……. Criticizing an acceptable present to those who built it makes enemies not allies.’
So true, celebrate those who built it and then dream together IN COLOR!
There is one more part of this, well Two actually.
A quote I use a lot when talking about implementation is a very simple concept:
“Nobody ever washes a rental car.”
While some people will admit that they actually have done that, they also admit that they completely trashed the car first and felt embarassed to bring it back to the rental agency.
The other is the story of the woman who actually invented Daylight Savings Time, which the government estimates costs the US over $300 million to implement. The story goes that the idea for DST came when the woman cut the end of of a blanket to sew it on to the other end. Her goal was to make the blanket longer. Rumor had it that she was blonde, but that is just a rumor.
(Dan — think that one will generate any reaction?)
For the FUN of It!