Change your life today

Do you want to change something in your life?If you are like 99.99% of the people alive (I would say more like 100%), you have something in your life that you really want to change. Think about it. What is one thing in your personal or professional life that you want to change?

If you do not feel inspired today, let me give you some ideas: Would you like to change how you feel on a regular basis? Would you like to change your income? Would you like to change the way you look (gain or lose weight)? 
Would you like to change careers? Would you like to change your job? Would you like to change a specific behavior in your personal relationship? Would you like to change where you live? Would you like to change some of your relationships?

Even though I do not know you personally, I would say if you were 100% honest with yourself you said yes to at least one of these questions. After 2,500 presentations and almost 7 years practicing executive coaching, I have not found anybody who does not want to change anything.

There could be several reasons why human beings always want to change (the need to grow, contribution, fear, personal dissatisfaction, ego, etc.), but that is not the issue of this article. What I want to introduce you to is a model of change that I have learned from the # 1 expert in large-scale corporate change in the world, Professor John Kotter from Harvard Business School. Even though the change model introduced by Professor Kotter was developed to generate large-scale change in organizations, I have found it to be very effective for small-scale change as well (both for business and personal issues). In order to make this change-model useful for small change, I took the liberty of giving my own interpretation and ideas for this mode.

For more information on the original work of Mr. Kotter please go to http://www.johnkotter.com/. To make this article useful to your life, I want you to think of one area that you would like to change in your life (it can be in your personal life or in your business). Please do this now. Grab a pen and a paper and let’s go through this 8-step change model together.

1. Establishing a sense of urgency: This is the most important part of the change process. In this step you must be able to create a state of urgency, the feeling that something must be done, can be done, and will be done immediately. Think about the situation in your life that you want to change and see the pros and the cons of changing (and not changing). What is the short and long-term cost, danger, consequences and benefits of you changing (and not changing)?

2. Creating the guiding coalition: You must have a team, a coach, a mentor or a support person that will give you guidance and support. After you decide what to change and why it is a MUST to change, you must define who the person is (or team) that will help and give you guidance and accountability during the change process.

3. Developing a vision and strategy: you must have a compelling vision for your change effort. A lot of people want to change their current situation but they do not have the clarity of how they want to change it. A vision is more than a goal. You can have several goals to achieve your vision. Here are some great questions to ask yourself: If you were to go to sleep tonight and a miracle was to happen, what would that miracle be? What would your life look like after the miracle? How would you know it occurred?

4. Communicating the change: In a business context, you must be communicating your vision to your team, employees and partners in anyway you can. In a personal context, I believe that you must communicate your vision to your support group, family and friends so people can hold you accountable to your results. This is real leverage!

5. Empowering broad-based action: Action supersedes everything. Purposeful action is the difference that makes a difference in change. The distinction here is not only taking action, but massive purposeful action!

6. Generating short-term wins: Many people fail to change the status quo because they never recognize their progress. They establish this long-term vision, and because it may take some time to achieve it, they get discouraged in the process. One great strategy is to pre-establish pre-wins (small benchmarks) and celebrate when you achieve them.

7. Consolidating gain and producing more change: Most change is interdependent, meaning, you may change your marketing efforts and that may change something at your delivery or customer service department. On a personal level, you may change your personal goals or realign your values and that may impact your current relationships. In this step, you want to eliminate any barriers that may have come up due to change. You want to eliminate these barriers and produce and solidify even more change (to make sure it sticks)

8. Anchoring new approaches in the culture: In order for a change effort to be permanent, it must be part of an organization’s culture or one’s identity. Metaphorically speaking: when the old part of you, or your old behavior or situation that you wanted to change dies, and the new behavior or result is born. Make sure you anchor (link, communicate, associate) the new behavior or result with who you are (or with business culture). That is the step where you know and you declare the life-long change you have made.
As the great speaker Jim Rohn said, “If you don’t like how things are, change them! You’re not a tree.”

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