It happens to all of us: We become comfortable in how we think, how we lead and how we behave and react to things, and then we end up stuck in our ways.
Even when things are not working as well as they could or should, or if others criticize us and give us direct feedback, it can be a hard to recognize and own our predicament. We often feel that, after all, the way we’ve always done things has worked, hasn’t been that bad, so why change now?
Related: Change Habits, Change Your Industry
The answer is a simple one: If we don’t change, we don’t grow and neither do the people around us. There are four key steps to getting unstuck and helping our teams get unstuck, too. As with all problems, it takes courageous thinking and honest communication to transform you, a team or an organization.
Try these four steps to connect with yourself and others in a meaningful way and watch transformation happen.
Key #1: Fess up. To change behavior, you need to first own up to your current behaviors and dynamics. It could be your avoidance of the issue, a negative reaction to it, simply being a victim or blaming others rather than taking responsibility for a bad situation. In so many cases, change doesn’t happen because people are either blind to their shortcomings or they are in denial and don’t admit them. Be honest with yourself and your team.
Key #2: Embrace your alternate possibilities. Have you heard the saying: “The truth will set you free?” Most people feel relieved when they fess up to their shortcomings, gaps or lack of ownership, authenticity and/or courage. From that space they can start thinking about, “So now what?” “How else could I act and/or behave?” and “What else could I do?”
For many people, this new space of possibilities is energizing. However, some people prefer to avoid responsibility; they can’t seem to get beyond blaming others and being victims of their circumstances. One very effective way to take ownership is to consider the “benefits” and “cost” of avoiding responsibility.
Key #3: Make a choice and take a stand. When you own up to your alternate possibilities, you can make real choices about how you will think and behave differently, and what you will, in fact, do differently. Steps one and two are about completing the past. Step three is about creating the future. Making a choice is, in essence, taking a stand, promising a new course of action, launching a new beginning and propelling yourself to a new trajectory. Make a new choice today.
Key #4: Act and behave in accordance with your stand. Authentic choices lead to new actions and behaviors. You can reinvent yourself by following steps one through three and then beginning to act and behave consistent with your stand. In many cases, when the new actions are radically different from the past ones, you may feel somewhat awkward, inadequate, and out of your comfort zone. I often refer to this as being “a beginner.” You may need to “fake it till you make it,” at first. However, if you are willing to stay the course and correct yourself when you stumble, fall or screw up, sooner than later your new actions and behaviors will start to become part of your new DNA.
Having honest conversations with yourself and others, making new choices and following them through can be messy, painful and even lonely at times. However, these steps will help you and your organization get unstuck and allow significant transformation to occur.
When people and teams have the courage to face the truth every day, a powerful platform of authentic ownership, commitment and accountability emerges. You and your team will naturally feel equipped and energized to focus on any challenge or opportunity that lays ahead, no matter how unfamiliar, complex, or difficult it may be. You and your team will become “unstoppable.”