Change a constant process in life, an ultimate reality which started just after beginning of this world and will remain there till the end. Whatever we have around us it is just because of the people who continued seeking new ways to develop or improve things, processes and practices in the products, ways to work and dealing with the people and that’s how they remain successful themselves but also inspired countless other people in this world who followed their foot prints and take this journey to a next level but being the trigger those who initiated the change at the beginning are still in the minds and thoughts of the people. Similarly the people who resisted the change, refused to adopt new ways ultimately left this world and forgotten by the newcomers.
As per the people in general change is unexpected, but infect change is inevitable. It’s something that will be happen sooner or later, and when it does happen, whether in a person’s personal and professional life, he or she will be in a really difficult position if not ready for it. On the other hand it is something very pleasant and enjoyable for the people seeking or at least ready for it. Expecting the changes is the only way to make it easy to adopt to. However, as change often requires to come out of the comfort zones, making all the required and necessary adjustments is not as easy as it sounds and as a result, achieving this objective becomes difficult.
Whenever we are talking about to bring any change the first and top most question being asked is “Why personal change is important for any conscious person looking to achieve the next level in his personal or professional life?” The answer of this questions is given by the leading writer, management guru and executive coach, Marshall Goldsmith in a very candid way “What brought you to where won’t get you there”. Means whatever you been doing in past to reach to your present level, the same practices, processed and habits will not probably take you to the next level so if you want to achieve more in life now is the time to develop and ready to grow. Now is the time to bring change.
The 2nd most asking questions are, how to bring this change and keep it sustainable as there are countless no of methodologies are available and still new are coming but still, people and organizations are failed to implement the required change. There could be hundreds of reasons but the most common is change is not a priority, there is no accountability in the process of change, fuzzy or unrealistic goal setting, as this requirement not been communicated properly, individuals are not feeling energized, change is not linked to aspirations of the people, lack of support from others and there are too many obstacles in implementing the change.
To implement any change, people need to complete the transition process as described by William Bridges, in his 1991 book “Managing Transitions” “The inner psychological process that people go through as they internalize and come to terms with the new situation that the change brings about”. The transition has 3 phases, 1. Ending, Losing, and Letting Go: Admit to yourself and others that the change has occurred. Actively seek information from all relevant sources. Seek and collect more and more about the required change than analyzing and finalizing it. Keep the record of what will be changed and what benefits will be gained as a result. Take the view that different is no right or wrong. It’s just different. 2. The Neutral Zone: This is the time of confusion, of living with a clear ending but having no clear beginning. It is also the time for clarity to develop and point you to a new beginning. 3. The New Beginning: Utilize the clarity that developed in the neutral zone and accept the challenge of working in a changing environment. Think of this phase as a fresh start.
In another book, Change Now! Five Steps to Better Leadership, written by Peter Scisco, Cynthia D. McCauley, Jean Brittain Leslie, and Rob Elsey, published by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) describe the strategies required for the personal transformation in a step-by-step manner. This supports people to review the current situation, identify areas that need improvement, and set the objectives, establish the plan, and implement the changes that worthwhile most.
The five steps described in this book to identify, evaluate, plan, and implement change are:
- Pick an Area for Change: Rather than trying to do multiple things at the same time or trying to implement the hardest one at the beginning and losing enthusiasm due to not achieving the targets as planned, it is always better to critically evaluating all the changes required to be implemented by using different lenses and then select the one which can be done better, which will add lot of value and in other words enthusiasm in all the stakeholders. This will be very encouraging and help them to keep marching towards achieving all the set targets.
- Make Goals That Work for You: Usually during the goal setting process, focusing on the main area where change is required and we are over sighting the other important areas that need to take care of to ensure the achievement of the targets. These goals could be behaviors, skill improvements, and finally a clear outcome to evaluate the achievements.
- Craft a Plan: Implementing a change is a journey and starting a journey without having a clear plan could be a disaster and having a fuzzy plan could be more dangerous. So while creating a plan to implement a change we should consider 5 W’s (why, what, when, where and who) and 1H (how). Considering these a plan should be prepared having clear elements related to Tactics, Resources, Tracking and Celebrating.
- Deal with Obstacles: The best way to deal with an obstacle is to anticipate and take the necessary action required to mitigate it possibly. Obstacles could be different in appearance but if you would analyze, these will be related to three main groups, Time, People and fear. Once we identify the obstacles correctly, we will be able to take the actions or make the arrangements to overcome.
- From Plan to Action: As we have established the plan, now this is the time to implement that plan. While implementing, we need to be careful and keep doing some activities e.g. focusing on the finish line, revisiting the plan on a regular basis and keep updating it as per the requirement or changing scenarios, keep reflecting on the goals about the achievements or failing, tracking the progress, keeping goals as priority and should not deviate under any circumstances and do it regularly.
I am sure that the above five steps will be helpful in achieving the changes required to be at the next level in the personal or professional life. People will be able to identify where to focus their energy in terms of their personal development. They will be able to create goals, develop the plan and that really works for them and finally, they will be able to successfully implement these plans to achieve their goals related to bring change.
Saqib Mansoor Ahmed, Author is a seasoned HR professional with over 24 years of diversified experience in Financial Services,Shipping, Education, Pharmaceutical, Material Recycling (furious and non-furious), FMCG (Dairy & Food), and Information Technology (Mobile, Branch less, e-Baking, and e-Govt.) in leading roles both locally and internationally.
As an Integrated Management Systems Certification Lead Auditor, he is been representing an international certification body, has conducted dozens of audits which helped him to gain exposure to the industries he has not worked with directly.
Currently, he is based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia associated with a Semi Govt. IT Firm as Learning & Development Architect (Advisor) mainly responsible for Organizational, Talent, and Future Leadership Development Initiatives based upon the business strategy, Technical Training Road maps, Coaching, etc.
“Managing Transitions” by William Bridges
“Change Now! Five Steps to Better Leadership” by Peter Scisco, Cynthia D. McCauley, Jean Brittain Leslie, and Rob Elsey.
Disclaimer: The content of this article is for information only and is not offered as an advice. Readers are encouraged to consult a suitably qualified professional adviser to obtain advice tailored to their specific requirement.