Are you ready?
Coach and facilitator Bev Morton shares her 10 step tool to help assess your readiness for change and to plan for action.
I facilitate important conversations about things that matter with people who want to create change whether it is about the way they live, setting up a business or organisation, developing a project or changing direction. We have to be ready for change for change to be effective. Without checking how ‘ready’ we are, we can inadvertently sabotage the change process and undermine our resilience as well.
Over decades I have experienced and observed a great deal of change and believe that readiness is an absolutely key element to achieving the outcomes we seek. It is natural to want to make change happen as soon as possible, to want to move straight to action or indeed be frozen in in-decision; change isn’t necessarily easy. If we ask ourselves the question ‘What change am I ready for?’ we come up with a different set of answers. I have created a simple 10 step tool with inter-dependent elements to help you to assess how ready you are for the change you seek to create. My aim is that through it you will be able to identify what it is you need to focus on and this will create your personal change readiness action plan.
- Drivers for change
Often the change is driven by emotions such as passion, frustration, fear, impatience or anger and these effectively become the drivers for change. Theses emotions are not the reason why the person wants the change to happen. The emotions are the outcomes of a lack of alignment between what the individual needs, values, beliefs and wants and what is manifesting in their lives. The risk is that these drivers can be so potent, they over-ride our in-built readiness sense checker. Check back in and ask yourself, ‘Why do I want this change?’
- Clear Goal or Vision
By creating a clear goal or vision we are contributing to readiness. For instance, you want to move house, but where, what kind of house? By creating a clear goal or vision it allows us to use all of our senses and emotionally connect with the change we are seeking. This mental picture of what it will be like allows us to ‘practice’ making it happen by seeing, feeling and hearing it we are making it real. This happens due to the reticular activating system in the brain which works like an internal satnav, filtering and guiding all of its decision making in support of this goal down to the tinniest of details.
Authenticity in relation to readiness is about ensuring the change is something that faithfully and genuinely resembles you and what it is you value. This is about being you because of who you are and honouring the change that YOU need it to be. In our lives we live under the pressure of what is expected by society, our families, peers; whatever. But if the change isn’t authentic, we will struggle to enact it effectively and to its greatest impact.
When I was a young teenager, my mum tried to get me to work in a bank (they were solid she told me). There wasn’t another thing on the planet I would have preferred NOT to do than work in a bank. Instead, I moved to another city 150 miles away to go and explore what the music industry had to offer there. With the authenticity of music, the move was one which I have never regretted, it wasn’t easy but it was the right change for me. I can’t say I would have felt the same about the bank.
- Love – Passion – Desire
If you love something, are passionate about it and desire it, you will have what I call ‘an arterial connection’ to your motivation which is central to achieving our goals. Without them, change takes a great deal more effort to achieve. Ask yourself:
- What am I passionate about?
- Just how much do I love it?
- To what extent do I desire what this leads me to?
About a year ago I met a woman called Emma when I was facilitating on a leadership course. From the very first moment, she talked about food, growing it, cooking it, sharing it, smelling it and eating it. So much so, she will always be synonymous in my mind as ‘Foodie Emma’. I recently heard that she is now running her own Supper Club. Of course she is! How could she not be? By tapping into her love – passion – desire to be around food she made it happen and interestingly, the rest of us wanting to be there with her.
How ready are you to commit to your change? Change is hard enough without commitment! When we are committed to the right change for us, we put the full force of our resources behind it to make it happen and stay committed even when the path becomes difficult. How committed are you in a score 1-10? If your commitment score is less than 7 this might not be the right change for you and if it is not, what would that change be? If your score is between 7 or 8 ask yourself what needs to happen for me to fully commit to this change?
We all need champions, those people who support us in our every days lives and careers. We especially need champions when we are choosing a change of direction onto a different path. Our resilience can ultimately rely on these champions; I wonder what Andy Murray would have been like without his mum and Ivan Lendl to support him towards his goal of winning Wimbledon. Who are your supporters? Who are the people really rooting for you? If you can’t think of anyone, who could they be?
When the change happens is also an important part of readiness. What is important is that you are engaging in change when the time is right for you. Only you can know what the ‘right time’ looks like and feel like. For some people starting at the other end of the spectrum is an easier place to start – when is absolutely the wrong time for you? Aligning high pressure times with additional responsibilities during times when your internal and external resources are stretched to the limit may definitely not be the right time for your change. We’re not looking for perfection here but a leg up at the very least, so what does a good time look like?
- Understanding resistance
If you are experiencing a feeling of resistance; notice it and seek to come to understand it. If we think of intelligence as wider than IQ, our bodies can provide us with valuable information and knowing ourselves better means that we are able to manage ourselves more effectively.
How is the resistance manifesting itself? Is it endless cups of tea, diversionary activity, procrastination, avoidance, fear? What do you think the resistance is about – is it fear of change, about embarrassment, a deep rooted self limiting belief or perhaps your instinct telling you that you aren’t ready yet? View the resistance as information and as having a purpose; being curious about what that is and coming to understand it is all part of readiness for change.
Resources are an important element of readiness, without them you create a additional gearing to your task – a bit like trying to go up a hill on a bike in a gear suited to a flat road, the legs peddle like mad but you don’t go far. Depending on your approach to change, what resources you have might not be important to you, you might choose to go the low resource route – either way knowing exactly what resources you need, human, financial and otherwise are an important part of making the change happen.
It is important not to under-estimate the role of capabilities in readiness. If you do not have the pre-existing capabilities for the change, you have to a) learn them b) get someone else who can do them c) create a strategy for managing the gap. If the change was to run a beautiful B&B with a stunning coastal walks it’s no good opening the doors without understanding health and safety legislation or having no skill for welcoming people. The skill areas which are intrinsic to the specific change you are planning are central to you achieving the change.
This readiness tool is the unpacking of all the intelligence that our gut gives us for free but provides it in a way which allows us to create an action plan for change. In coaching or any change work, asking a series of readiness questions is essential to ensure the best outcome. You have a vested interest to make this change work and by asking yourself those challenging questions it will help you discover just how ready you are for change. This tool has been created for you to get closer to the life you want to live and how you want to live it. So then, what are you ready for?
If you liked this article and found it useful in help making you ready, please share it with your friends and those who you know might be interested. I’d love to hear about your experience of readiness, feedback or other thoughts for future articles – please leave your comments in the box below.