Mark Goulston, an executive coach I know who works with CEOs, has\n\ndeveloped a line of inquiry that is a powerful way to focus on issues\n\nrelated to change. Mark\u2019s question is this: \u201cAre you ready for change, or are you ready to change?\u201d \n\n\n\n\n\nMost people in power will attest to the first; they thrive on pushing\n\nchange for their organization. It\u2019s been said that many CEOs suffer\n\nfrom attention deficit disorder because they articulate initiatives and\n\nthen move on. In moving on hastily, they also may demonstrate that they\n\nare not ready to\n\nchange. Being ready to change means two things: one, you are ready to\n\nchange your own behavior; two, you are ready to help the organization\n\nmake positive change. \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n Make Change Personal\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nWhen it comes to change, we need people at the top as well as\n\nthroughout the organization who are ready, willing and able to change\n\nand help the organization. When you are willing to say that change\n\nbegins with me, it is the equivalent to standing at the precipice and\n\njumping off. It\u2019s darn scary, for certain. But you aren\u2019t jumping\n\nalone. You are equipped with your own ideas, values and beliefs as well\n\nas something else \u2013 a strong sense of courage. We see this by looking\n\nback at history. When Caesar crossed the Rubicon, he was venturing into\n\nhostile territory without a certain way back. Columbus venturing to\n\nCathay was a good example of exploring the limits of the known world.\n\nAnd more recently, Carlos Ghosn jumped into Nissan, a hidebound\n\nJapanese company to effect change. That, too, was risky, especially\n\nsince at that time he spoke no Japanese.\n\n To be for change really requires that you change, too. Ghosn\n\nlearned Japanese. Columbus discovered a new world. And Caesar used his\n\nadventure to become ruler of Rome. Few of us are incapable of change\n\nand if we are in leadership positions, we must learn to leverage our\n\nown change for the good of the organization. Mark Goulston\u2019s latest\n\nbook, Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self Defeating Behavior on the Job\n\noffers some powerful insights into the personal change process. They\n\nmay be small things that can make a big difference in any change\n\nprocess. \n\n\n\nMake certain people understand you. Every person in a position\n\nof authority is guilty of assuming that people automatically\n\nunderstand. Goulston references a medical condition, Wernicke\u2019s\n\naphasia: Patients who suffer from it \u201cdon\u2019t realize when others are not\n\nunderstanding them,\u201d they just talk and talk. Managers have no such\n\nmedical excuse. They either do not take the time to make certain that\n\nthey are understood or they don\u2019t care that people don\u2019t understand\n\nthem. They act on the premise that it\u2019s their brilliance that matters\n\nmost. Goulston advises managers in this situation to ensure\n\nunderstanding by asking an open ended question such as, \u201cI am not\n\ncertain I\u2019ve been clear. What do you understand about what I\u2019ve said?\u201d\n\nSuch a question is a check for meaning and opens the door for\n\nconversation and eventual understand.\n\n\n\n\n\nEmbrace the challenge of learning new things. Goulston writes\n\nthat the older we become the more fearful we become of learning.\n\nWhether it\u2019s mastering a new PDA or acquiring new skills to give us a\n\ncompetitive edge, we push back, often because we are afraid we cannot\n\nlearn. Goulston believes that we should look at learning more\n\npositively, as a challenge that we can tackle and from which we can\n\nbenefit. By adopting an open minded outlook we actually open ourselves\n\nto learning and improve the odds of success.\n\nGet buy in. Ever met a senior manager who was so in love with\n\nhis own new idea that he did not listen to reason? Of course you have.\n\nSenior leaders are always pushing, always in a hurry and when it comes\n\nto their own ideas, they are in even more of a rush. Instead,\n\nexecutives should turn the paradigm on its head: look at the new\n\ninitiative (or process) from the perspective of the people they are\n\ntrying to persuade. According to Goulston, managers should do three\n\nthings to gain buy in: one, make the change for a good reason; two,\n\nmake the change feel right and, three, make change \u201cdoable.\u201d Prior to\n\ndoing anything, however, the manager needs to think about what needs to\n\nbe done and why people on the team are right to make change happen.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nChange for Results\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nToo much change, or at least change for change\u2019s sake, is not\n\nhealthy. That is one reason why those of us in organizations resist it\n\nso much. We view it as impersonal and as just another flavor of the\n\nmonth. And often that is because the change initiative lacks impetus\n\nfrom the top. All too often the CEO is onto another issue. But when the\n\nCEO and his team stay focused, push hard and stay on top of thing,s\n\nreasons for resistance melt more quickly.\n\nChange is not easy. If it were, we\u2019d all be\n\ncarousels, endlessly altering our points of view as the merry go round\n\nrotates. But we\u2019re not. We like things to remain the same for us, but\n\nperhaps not for others. That\u2019s why it\u2019s so powerful when a leader\n\npersonally makes change. That sends an example throughout the\n\norganization. When they see the leader acting, they have no excuse for\n\nnot moving forward. Changing behavior is never easy, but it can be done\n\nand, when done right, sends a powerful message throughout the\n\norganization.