“Please, oh please, tell me that people can change,“ I hear frequently. And more specifically, can my boss, my co-worker, my spouse, my teenager, or my mother-in-law change? All of us in consulting professions hear that same question over and over, although it takes a variety of forms:
“Do you believe there’s any hope?”
“He’s too old to change, isn’t he?”
“She’s in power. Why would she do anything differently?”
Sometimes the question is posed as a statement.
“I’m 40 years old, I’m not going to reinvent myself now.”
“I am going to retire in a few years, so let the new kids learn that stuff.”
“She’s too stuck in her ways to try this.”
I’ve said that everyone can be a leader, or can become a better leader. I am even writing a book on the topic. So, clearly, I believe that people can and do change, at all times of their lives and regardless of the circumstances. However, they have to want to change. They have to be motivated. No one changes because YOU want them to change. They change because something within them has prompted them.
In the past decade, research into how our brains work has turned earlier beliefs about brain development on their heads, so to speak. People can change, because their brains can, and do, change. The question is, how can we steer our brains in the direction we want them to go…toward the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, rather than the trash dump? We know these everyday steps create the change:
- Voice the desire to change, write it down, and commit.
- Ask people you trust to help.
- Set clear and measurable goals with dates.
- Create mindfulness routines.
- Move toward the change slowly, consistently and predictably.
If you would like to explore how you can change, let me know. While we can’t change others, others are constantly watching us. And when we change, they change as well!
How have you successfully changed in the past? What changes are you interested in for your future?
Have you ever gotten mail or phone call telling you that you’ve won a cruise or timeshare? Likely you have. And likely you hung up the call or discarded the letter in the trash as ‘junk-mail’ without giving it a second thought.
Then again – if you had entered into the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes and got a call or letter saying you’ve won, you’d likely give it a bit more attention wouldn’t you?
…Why is this?
…This is because you know about this sweepstakes; you’ve heard about it for years and have continued to hear about how it has changed the lives of those who have won. In this case – you knew you were in the running for this award and the contest has credibility and importance in your mind.
Remember when you create spot awards for your employees – to do the same thing – make sure the employees know about it ahead of time; make sure they understand the importance of it and feel that it has some meaning and value when someone wins!
The next time you give out a spot award – remember to make it into a big deal. He might get red and be embarrassed but that’s okay. He will love it and everyone needs to hear it.
Of course you won’t mention the amount, just talk about all that he has taken on (literally name some of the work you know it). Talk about his “can do” attitude, his willingness to embrace change….etc. Make yourself a few talking notes before presenting it so that you know what you want to highlight.
The bottom line – don’t forget the balloons, the streamers, the ‘pomp and circumstance’ of the spot award. Build up the spot awards to be something that employees are excited about and strive to earn. This will go a long way to improve moral – and it’s fun!