Change begins with me
By Kerry Francis
Recently, I’ve been thinking about my own quest to change my behavior in light of our journey from Excellence to Eminence, and about answering my – and others’ – questions that sound like, “BUT, how do I get them to change their behavior??” A short article that takes less than 5 minutes to read inspired me to really focus on what behavior I want to change, and what that means to me.
In “’When I Get Better at…’ A Simple Exercise for Changing a Behavior to Achieve Results,” Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, an authority in leadership effectiveness, talks about a simple exercise that motivates change by focusing on the personal benefits of change. In the exercise, you pick one behavior that you want to change, and list the benefits you’ll see when you make that change. As you continue to list more and more benefits, you get to the heart of what that change means to you.
An example for me is, when talking with someone, I sometimes find my mind thinking ahead to how I'm going to respond. This can lead me to not hearing what the real challenge the other person has. So, “When I get better at listening for understanding, I’ll understand what people really need.”
The beauty of this exercise is you can easily do it with your team, or by yourself. And, it helps you focus on what really matters by pointing out the life-changing impact you can create. By understanding the amazing benefits you can reap from changing, you’re more likely to be inspired to make a permanent change.
There’s a reason the exercise focuses on the changes I will make, and the benefits I will see. As we talk about in unfreezing retreats, I can only change my behavior; I can’t change anyone else’s. By focusing on what changes I can make, and not on changing everyone around me, I’m more likely to make lasting change. As everyone does this individually, our collective change will help move us forward.
Take a few moments to think about what change will have the greatest impact for you, and really examine the benefits. I think you’ll be surprised at what you discover.
Posted on January 4, 2011