Did you hear the one about the actor who hired a sobriety coach? No really! Charlie Sheen of Two and Half Men TV fame has just hired a sobriety coach to follow him around, literally and make sure he doesn’t drink. When I stopped laughing about the absurdity of the situation, I realized that Charlie had taken my advice. I’ve been preaching for years about the need for “change coaches”. Not an executive coach but a coach for the masses – an internal change coach who helps guide specific change within the organization. Someone who works with the “resistors” to move them closer to the change goal.
Why don’t people change? After all we’re paying them to do the job we define and if we change that definition or change elements of that job, they should just do it. Well, in the case of change, Nike is wrong – saying just do it, doesn’t do it. But why? Why can’t the pharmacist counsel customers on heart disease and count pills? Why can’t I lose weight? Because there’s no one dedicated to getting the pharmacist and me through the stages of change. And believe me we both need one! Left to our own devices success is not guaranteed. Successful change takes place when four things happen:
Your organization understands the stages of change intellectually andemotionally
The change is clearly defined and what I need to do to get there is clearly defined
A support system is activated to coach the resistors
There’s a carrot at the end of the journey
As I get up from my desk to grab a piece of left over Halloween candy (it’s 10:30am, why do I need chocolate), I realize that we forget that there are stages of change and each stage requires intervention from a coach. So let’s take a quick look at those stages:
“I don’t have a weight problem” – no awareness of a problem
“Geez’ in the 360° mirror I look, well as only a mother would say, pleasing plump. I guess I really should lose some weight” - recognition of the problem
“Let’s throw out all the sugar in the house and oil up the treadmill.” –preparing for action but small steps
“Wow, using the treadmill really does make me feel better and I am losing weight” – modifying behavior
“ Man this is hard” - working to prevent relapse
“I deserve that bread pudding” - here we go again
In your organization, the resistors barely get to the contemplation stage and will certainly relapse without a support system. Change is 80% emotion and 20% intellect but very few organizations accept this and act upon it. You’ll hear statements like, “tell them to suck it up and just do it”, “if they don’t like it, fire ‘em”. Useless rants that do nothing to ensure change.
When facing change it is critical to identify those who are really going to find the change difficult and partner them with someone who sees the glass as half full. The coach’s role is to remove obstacles to change, cushion the resistor when they fail, limit their risk and encourage the resistor through the action and maintenance stages in the hope of preventing relapses.
Hey Shelley, I don’t have time to baby employees and besides what you’re suggesting costs time and money. I hear you and believe me my first inclination is to take the easy way out and demand change or else! But calculate the costs of lost productivity, of low morale created by the resistor and the cost to your customers both internal and external, and you’ll see that developing and deploying change coaches is cost effective in the short term and the long term.
So, now that Charlie has a sobriety coach will he stay sober? Who knows? Give him credit for acknowledging a problem and doing something to fix it. What about me, you’re asking? Well, ........do as I say not as I do!!!
If you're facing change in your organization and who isn't, give me a call and let's talk about how together we can change the world one employee at a time!
Statistics on Change
70% of change initiatives don't deliver what was expected
Well managed change initiatives deliver an ROI of 143%
What are you doing to ensure you are successful?
Change or Die
Our Iceberg is Melting
"It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change."
Catalytic Management specializes in business performance and growth
including sales effectiveness, customer service and business
process improvement for companies
in New England and the Northeast.