Change is hard. Change takes time. So they say. But we know from practice that change can be both fun and fast – if you follow a few core principles.
It is much easier to do what we normally do. As human beings, we try to stay in our comfort zone as much as possible. Uninvited change tends to create a negative first reaction. It seems difficult, it takes time, and it is not fun. As a change agent, you can help people to accelebrate change by tapping into what is already there. Simply ask: What to keep? Which procedures, social routines and personal habits will support the desired change or at least not derail it? Keep the best, and change the rest.
In changing times, engage in what you want, not in what you do not want. Move towards a burning desire instead of moving away from a burning platform. Combine the bottom-up processes and top-down processes in your brain. Use your emotions to create importance and your mental capacity to get it right. Where your energy flows, your focus will go — until you become aware of this fact and manage to redirect the energy towards your focus.
Collaboration is the X factor in accelebrating change. We are in this together, and nobody is alone. If each of us is clever, it will take us some of the way. If we can become good together, it will take us all the way – faster and with more fun. We need to invest in building a collaborative and safe environment. In an exponentially changing world, it can seem like a waste of time, but it is not. If you want to perform better and develop faster, you need to engage more in what you have and what you do with other people.
During change, certain new behaviours become vital. Practise these behaviours until they become shared routines and personal habits. Fake it until you become it. Excellence is not an act, but what we repeatedly do. Intensity times repetition equals the simple formula for new strong habits. To get started, you must become aware and get ready to change. Perception is key – yes, but context rules. Support the vital behaviour with nudging, nesting, priming and confirmation. One day, a new sustainable behaviour is adopted, the next day another – and so forth.
We are biased. By default, our brain will choose the easiest, fastest, less risky route – unless a reward is perceived. These choices in fact define our personal comfort zone. Except for repetitive tasks where high precision and strong safety are wanted or situations where energy conservation is crucial, reward yourself by choosing the more challenging and complex route. Get into the good habit of questioning shared beliefs, assumptions, routines and unreflected decision-making on a regular basis.
Since the brain’s reward system can be linked to anything, why not link it directly to the change process itself? The lucky ones, who in an early age made this linkage, got addicted to learning. They get high on it. They crave it – every day. They question, disturb and disrupt old patterns. To assist them and to make the rest of us accelebrate change in the same manner, you can offer an environment where change is the default, and learning is a build-in feature. Expect the unexpected. Prepare for the unpredictable.
Hopefully, these six principles will inspire you to accelebrate change
Impact through professional behaviour
Implement Consulting Group