I’m wondering if you have experienced a major change in the past 12 months, either at work or personally? And, do you expect that there will be further change ahead of you in the coming 12 months?
If you have answered yes to either or both of these questions then you know how rapid change is in our world.* We no longer hear about 5 year plans, because the reality is we don’t know what things are going to be like in 5 months time.
Change is the new black.
But here’s the kicker; change is hard, and plenty of us resist it. So as a leader, manager and fellow-superstar how do you help others to move past being pessimistic and resistant to change?
When we start to talk to others about change we talk about the logistics of change, how it’s going to happen, who needs to know, when, and even why. What we don’t talk about is how important change is and how confident we are about this change being successful.
Part of the reason we don’t is because we know that we can come up with a mountain of reasons why this change is not going to work, why it’s only a matter of time when the pendulum will swing back again.
One way of addressing this is to ask the counter-intuitive question.
For example, consider a change that you are facing and answer the following question:
- On a scale of 1 - 10, where 1 is not at all important and 10 is extremely important, how important is this change to you? **
Now, regardless of your answer to this question, your intuition wants to ask, how can we make it higher? Don’t do that. Because the problem is that you just end up defending your position, just like others do if you challenge them to just ‘jump on board the change-train’.
Instead I want you to ask the counter-intuitive question - why is the number not lower? For example if they said 4 out of 10, then why is it not a 2 or a 3?
This is where you can start to explore the things that are already working. This is an essential starting block to be exploring change and how to make it effective.
Then ask, if you could move your number up by one (for example from a 4 to a 5) what would that mean?
Sometimes asking the counter-intuitive questions moves us into conversations about change that we have never before explored.
Don’t be afraid of the scary questions**.
* If you answered no to both of these it is likely that you are enjoying a life of bliss in an exotic location, of which I am completely jealous!
** Other questions may be ‘how confident are you about_______?’, ‘how willing are you to experience _______?’, ‘how much do you believe _____ will be successful?’
*** Except for when your partner asks ‘does my bum look big in this?’, there is only ever one answer to that question.