Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Readiness for Change

Readiness for change

I keep coming back to the notion of readiness. It’s come at me from a variety of directions lately and as I continue to work with leaders and individuals, it clearly stands out as a key ingredient to implementing change. Yes, my clients and I talk about competencies, ability to influence others, strategies – we talk about all of that. Yet, how much of what we want to change comes down to readiness : our own or the readiness of others?

We’re all familiar with the quote “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. That clearly says successful learning (and change) is not attributable to the teacher’s skill or wisdom, rather it starts with the student being ready. How does the student get himself ready?

Readiness means being willing to let go of the past. If we are still clinging to old behaviours, old ways of doing things, are we really ready to embrace the new? So readiness also means being willing to embrace the risk of trying something new. True change can happen when we are finished with the old and stand ready to try something new.

Creating readiness in others means helping them step up to the cusp of something new with the willingness to embrace the new. How do they get inspired about the future? If all they know is the present (soon to be the past), what would make them “ready”. As their leader, what have you done to paint a picture of the future? Do they see themselves in it? Does the future reflect their values, hopes and dreams? When the leader is able to paint that kind of picture, she becomes an inspirational leader – one that others place their trust in. And trust in others is another way of saying : “You’ll catch me if I fall when I don’t quite have the new steps worked out, won’t you?”. That’s you – the leader, being told what your next job is : catch me when I fall. Don’t judge or punish me for taking a risk, don’t think poorly of me trying something new. Help me learn and help me get better. If I can trust you, then I’m ready.

Readiness – we all have it in us. What’s holding us back?

Ready, Set, Go!

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