How do we make positive change happen?
I want to start by thanking all of you who responded to my post last week about Taking a New View of Leadership where I talked about my personal reaction to the Auschwitz Exhibition in Madrid Spain.
Watching, with renewed anger, the human inhumanity of so many decades ago that still persists today, and wondering if we can really make positive change happen has me thinking…
What is the way OUT?
In my book, Don’t Bring It To Work I talk about ingrained, outdated behavior patterns that get in the way of success by Observing, Understanding and Transforming what we learned as kids and what no longer works for us as adults.
As is often the case with negative behavior, fear is the root.
We keep repeating what we did as children that kept us safe, after all, we are still here, right? Therefore, making change is threatening.
Often, we smile and nod and say, “Sure, I’ll give that a try” and then we keep on doing the same old thing over and over. That’s not a good way to make positive change happen.
When offered new communication skill training most will do it for a bit, and then slide back to what is familiar and comfortable.
Here is from my experience the best way to make positive change happen:
PEP TALK: That stands for Pattern Encounter Process.
It means doing some role play to practice new ways of communicating with those who push your buttons, set off your triggers. Before you talk for real with that annoyingly irritating person find a friend and practice what you want to say. Notice when you feel the fear start to enter the conversation. Go ahead, push past the desire to back off, be polite, be superficial. After all, remember, this is only a practice session. And then practice a few more times.
In my book Don’t Bring it To Work, on pages 157-160 are the communication skill methods that have helped so many leaders over the years. There is no substitute for practice when it comes to real and lasting change. You simply can’t “think your way” into change. You need to do something to get muscle memory into your body.
When you feel yourself saying, “This is boring” or “I’m fine the way I am” or “Nothing will change no matter what I say” keep practicing. The thousands who have learned to do a PEP TALK, to get beyond resistance, have moved to new levels of success personally as well as professionally.
You all know that joke that is really a basic truth “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” And the answer is Practice, damn it, practice. That is the best way to make positive change happen.