According to Benjamin Franklin, “Change is the only constant in life. One’s ability to adapt to those changes will determine your success in life”.
Or maybe you have heard another famous quote from Mahatma Gandhi about being “the change you wish to see in the world.”
These quotes, while both motivating, are proving challenging as we navigate this year, which has brought so much unprecedented change to everyone.
What is our definition of success in this kind of complexity and uncertainty?
Our clients are searching for this answer as they navigate these unchartered territories. The answer to this question has several textures to it as well; whether looking at an individual leader’s capacity, a team’s effectiveness, an organization’s culture, or the well-being of people at all of these levels. And for an added layer of complexity – now within a virtual paradigm where children and animals are also co-existing.
What Stage Are You In?
While Mr. Franklin is correct, it was work started by Dr. Prochaska and collaborators in the 1970’s that brought us more understanding about how we humans actually respond to change – it’s not a Yes or No response, and it’s not static. We go through stages of change in a sequential and dynamic process!
As we look around at ourselves and others throughout the pandemic journey, there are classical examples of transitioning through each stage as we approached the necessary behavior changes for health-safety measures, like wearing masks, hand washing, and social distancing. As you look at the Stages of Behavior Change cartoon, you can narrate your own journey for those elements, beginning with not contemplating doing those things at the onset, to the stage you may be in currently.
Understanding about these stages is one tool we use when supporting our clients to begin creating the behavior changes they want – for themselves and their teams. One way we discover with clients from what stage they may be operating is by using 3 Vital Questions™ (3VQ), developed by David Emerald at the Bainbridge Leadership Center.
The First Vital Question
To do this yourself, begin with “Where am I putting my focus?”. By asking this question, we can become aware if we are putting our focus on what we don’t want and are afraid of happening – or – what we do want and the possibilities of what we can create inside of the current conditions. While this may sound simple, there are sophisticated neurological maps and behavioral patterns that are in play within our “human operating system” to learn to identify. As our clients become more aware of how to answer this vital 1st Question in their own situations, they can identify their mindset and readiness for change. Then the 2nd and 3rd Vital Questions are important for understanding how they are relating to that focus and what steps they can take to get move along the change process towards their own success. Through this 3VQ process, we can not only transform our workplace drama, but also upgrade our own internal operating system to help us navigate increasing complexity and change.
What Is Next?
If you find yourself in the same conundrum and questions for how to approach the changes you are navigating, internally and with others in your teams, we know from experience that working with all 3 questions can be a game changer! For that reason, the 3 Vital Questions™ and Stages of Change framework are one of SSPs integrated solutions within all of our 6 service “seeds”.