The Power of the First Step DrJohnK
Have you ever wondered why change is so tough? Why is it, that with our very best intentions, we still find it difficult to make changes that we know would be good for us? Why is it so much more difficult to get other people to change and do the things that matter?
Even when you have a crystal clear picture of what success looks like and you have tapped into the emotions, drives and values that motivate and there's still no action!!!!! How do you get started?
see the SWING exercise in my last episode if you don't have a clear picture of what success looks like.
You'll learn how to make change happen for yourself or for the people you lead.
The Power of the First Step is a purposeful leadership technique to create momentum. And just like any journey, we'll define your future desired end state and your current situation and using the most useful one of three variations of this technique that works for you, you will create momentum on your change journey.
You'll wake up in the morning and your problem is solved, or it is on its way to being solved.
Way back in 1995, John P. Kotter shared:
He talked about 8 distinct errors that prevent success from happening. But that was ages ago, surely we have learned and moved forward since the mid 90's? It seems not. 10 Reasons change efforts fail as described by Lee Colan in 2014. In 2017, Brent Gleeson posited that the 1 reason most change efforts fail is battle fatigue.
Bill Pasmore at CCL highlights 4 reasons why you fail at change in 2016
If you have ever failed to change, you'll know all the reasons (aka excuses) why you failed. And that's perfectly OK. Unless you actually do want to change.
That is, the desire to stay the same. i.e. the desire to not change. Even if and when we are completely certain that change would result in a better situation for us. A situation we want. The truth is, we want the success without the pain.
You can use this to get your own change started, or use it with your team to get them to start on their change journey.
Often, during coaching, a client can understand and describe their future goal or outcome. They can describe their current situation. But, they struggle to know exactly what they need to do now.
There are three variations of this technique. I recommend that you start using the visual template (using pictures). If this is not working well, use the digital template (using a descriptive process). Or, you can ‘act’ this out.
The “Present” situation is the current situation – as with the “Future”, you want specific sensory information about it.
In this technique, you are creating a movie storyboard or script of the change you want from the movie’s very first scene (now) to the last scene (the future goal or outcome).
You (and/or your team) is in the starring role, you are the central character of this movie. And, procrastination is the villain you are going to vanquish.
The first step is the very first ‘action’ that this character takes in this movie.
Grab the template (print it out) and describe the current situation. Write down as much detail as you can. What you currently see, hear, feel, smell and taste. In relation to the change you know you want to make, what specifically is the evidence of your eyes and ears that clearly demonstrate the need for change?
Name the Scenes
This is the moment at the very beginning of the movie, often before the credits role that sets everything up and just begs the audience to hang around for the rest.
So you think drawing is for kids? Oh, you are missing something powerful. And yes you can draw a stick person. Nonetheless… instead write words in the boxes. You are a scriptwriter instead of a storyboard artist. Number the boxes if it helps you.
If you cannot draw pictures or describe in words, “show” yourself with your own body, tables, chairs, props and anyone else you can use as extras. Grab your smartphone or tablet, set up the video and record.
Now you are the producer of the movie instead of the storyboard artist or scriptwriter and you are receiving direction (from yourself).
Procrastination is your enemy. We don't want to take that first step because it sets us on a journey and it means we have made a choice. We've given up on the other options for now. And procrastinators hate to give up options.
Perfectionism is another excuse for inaction. And yes, everybody is a perfectionist at heart, you're not really that different. You will never, ever achieve perfection. Sorry but it is true. The leaders who stand out are the leaders who get (the right) stuff done. And done is better than perfect.
Even when you do get started, there are going to be obstacles (more villains) along the way. At any point along the journey you might feel like giving up. It's too hard. Or worse, the environment has changed and your change is too little or too late and no longer worth doing. Remember, that's perfectly OK. Go back to the beginning and start again. The leaders who succeed in the long term, are the leaders who persevere. They are the ones who get up again, dust themselves off and keep on keeping on.
I help people unlock their talent, unstuck their potential and unleash their own (and their team's) performance through behavioural neuroscience based coaching and mentoring. Most whip smart independent contributors, technical specialists and managers get frustrated trying to be heard and understood by their business leaders and they lack enough time and inclination to develop the skills they need to move into management and leadership positions. Proven systems. A personal coach and mentor. I combine time-tested systems, behavioural neuroscience and psychology research and practical tools with the accountability and guidance of a 1:1 coach and mentor to UnLock your Talent, UnStuck Your Potential and UnLeash Your Performance.
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