Change Whisperer – Gail Severini, Symphini Change Management Inc.

Counterintuitive tips for creating traction for change
May 2, 2010, 5:03 pm
Filed under: - People Change Management, - Professional Development

Every change is different. Every person is different.  Having said that there are some sneaky, simple tricks for getting started.  Don’t believe them?  Give them a try.

1. “Begin anywhere” – sometimes a change seems so big that it’s hard to get a plan together.  Well, our brains are more capable of multi-tasking that we give them credit for.  Sometimes you just need to begin anywhere.  For example, are you moving? Forget about a plan! Really? Sure.  Just start with one box and pack it then stop.  You might be surprised to discover that as you are moving around you begin to think about what to do ‘next’, and what to do before ‘next’ , what else needs to be done, etc.  Getting moving gets the brain thinking.

2. “Plant more seeds than you need”.  Start a list.  Often ‘planners’ think that a list has to be ordered – chronological, prioritized, etc.  Sometimes there’s too much information to hold in our heads so just throw it onto a page.  You can order it later – the first step is collecting the data.  As you ’empty’ your thoughts onto the page, you free up space to think about more stuff.  Okay, true, this is not a technical explanation – but it does work.  As you plant the seeds, some will be useful and grow and others will just vanish naturally.

3. “Chip away” – sometimes you can start change with a series of small steps – this is, after all, how great sculptures are created.  Want to stop smoking? Start by transitioning to a less potent brand for a week or two, then cut out smoking in the car, have a little party (you might have cut your nicotine by half by now!), then start taking the stairs (this will remind you why you need to work on your lungs),  cut out the pre-breakfast cigarette – get the picture?  Before you know it you will have made great progress. Then … keep it going one “chip” at a time.

4. “Keep your eye on the PATH, not on the ball” – yes, you will slip up (everyone who has every started a diet, fitness plan, etc) knows this from personal experience.  However, it is the TREND that is important not the individual data points.  Great change must anticipate some set backs and short falls.  It is the aggregated progress that is essential.

Well, this list is a manifestation of the tips above! How so?  Well, I:

  • “began anywhere”
  • “planted lots of seeds” (well 4 anyway)
  • began “chipping away”  at my objective to write a Tip Sheet and
  • considering the “path”, I am 4 tips along the way to creating a great deliverable

How can you use these in your personal life or in your projects and strategic change? More to come – which probably leads to Tip 5: “Consider the change a “work in progress”.

1 Comment so far
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Right on! My experience is one of having to start where ever the changes are. It is such and iterative process anyway (as opposed to a punch list) that your suggestions are spot on. Good work.

Comment by Bob Dodge

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