"Today I got fired for creating positive change" said No-One Ever! So? What's stopping you?
I found myself thinking about what stops people from taking action and making positive change recently after facilitating an internal workshop. At the conclusion of the workshop there was a question: "will this information be shared with the organisation? We've been telling the organisation that 'x' is broken for months but nothings changed". This was followed by conversation around "if we had a better culture, things would be different" "The organisation just doesn't listen".
I realised that this is where it stops for some people. They think that because they have told someone that something is broken, or post-it noted it in a workshop, that their part is done. And that is why nothing changes, because these people are waiting for someone else to 'fix' the problems. "I've told the Organisation what is broken, so now it's up to 'The Organisation' to fix it".
Now, you can argue that by 'the organisation' you meant 'management' or 'the Senior Leadership Team' or someone else, (so long as it's not you, right?) but the reality is, we all make up 'the organisation'. You ARE the organisation too.
You might then say "But I'm not empowered enough" or "I don't have the authority to make change". And I say "Bollocks". It is everyone's responsibility to make positive change in an organisation, and while failing to recognise our power to be a change maker is common, becoming a change maker is easy. Here's my 3 tips to help get you started:
Start small, but Start!
You can't impact change if you don't try anything. People who make positive change start by choosing something small that they know they can influence and implement. Be it a process improvement, or a behavior or a culture change. By choosing something small, something you can change that will have a positive impact and then actually doing something about it feels great! Once you get a couple of changes implemented, and you start to see the benefits of the change, you think "that was easy!....now, what's something a little bigger I can impact?"...
Give it a try! What's stopping you?
Stay in the positive.
Fact: Positive people are happier. Nobody likes a moaner. They are draining and tiring to be around. So keep things in the positive. While it is important to identify and discuss the things that need fixing, there are benefits to using positive language to stop you spiraling down into the whining, moaning, blaming zone. Instead of talking about 'What's broken?' re-frame as 'Where are there opportunities for improvement?' or, one of my personal favourites, the 'I like, I wish, I will' exercise. For example: I like that we have a monthly social gathering, I wish more people would come, I will seek to understand what the barriers are to people attending. The 'like' acts as 'what works', the 'wish' becomes the improvement you'd like to see and opportunity, and the 'will' becomes the action. All in a positive way.
Give it a try! What's stopping you?
Celebrate and share your successes - every time!
Make the time to celebrate successful changes - no matter how small. Whether it is a change that you made by yourself, or with a team, it is important to share and celebrate success stories. By doing this, people see how excited and happy you are that you are making a difference, and it can be contagious! When we tell positive stories about how we are trying to impact change and what we are working on, or doing, people start to think "I might give that a go too! If they can do it, why can't I? We once celebrated a success simply with a cake that had iced writing on it that said 'Got Shit Done!' It went down a treat!
So, there you go. Some tips for starting a movement towards impacting positive change. Start with something small that you know you can just do then work up to the bigger stuff, stay positive, and celebrate your successes. Why? Because you can and you should, because it's fun and it feels good!
And remember, no-one is going to fire you for making positive change!!
So, what's stopping you?