by Jeisyn Murphy, PhD
If you wanted to succeed in the iDevice Age, would you spend much time studying Motorola, Kyocera, and Pantech? I hope not because these are the makers of some of the worst Smartphones of 2011. No, chances are you would look hard and long at Apple. You’d study their iPhones, from the first 2G model to the latest and greatest iPhone 5. You’d consider their marketing strategies and In the same way, whatever your field is, be it sports, sales or making widgets, there’s a right way to improve your performance and a wrong way. Let’s focus on the right way.
Over a decade ago, my colleague David Joyce and I, were retained by the United States Postal Service as change management consultants for their headquarters in a large city in Texas. Our mission was to take some of the most challenging managers and supervisors, those with personality issues and disciplinary problems, and with training turn them into model employees. Long story short–we succeeded. The way we succeeded is the point of this post which is to get you to become excited about change either at the individual, group or organizational level (or all of the above).
One of the innovations of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) (one of the methodologies we utilize at Bright Mind) was to create a model of behavior and thinking that made change
effortless easier. As NLP co-founder Dr. Richard Bandler tells it, “Something we wanted to learn how to do was to cure Schizophrenia. So instead of studying a thousand schizophrenics, we studied healthy people and taught the schizophrenics how to do that.” Quite simply, the best practice among change agents is this formula:
- Observe the system
- Find the actions in that system that are not working toward the desired outcome
- Resource the system with the key actions that will achieve the outcome
- Test and fine tune
Yes there are a lot of minor steps among these key points but these give us the broad strokes of the change process. And notice what is missing: long drawn-out discussions over the past and assessments and evaluations that attempt to explain what is wrong. I’ve worked with countless clients who can tell you the textbook description of their problem, inform you about when and where it started, and offer the probable psychological pathology that has come into play. And yet they have not changed their behavior. Why?
Because understanding why is less important than how. When you understand how a problem is working, and can break it down into its components (that’s the second step in the process) then you can tinker with it in order to produce something different and more valuable (that’s the third step).
When you bring in a change agent that is working at this level, you save time, money and suffering because they can get to the root of the problem faster, explore and discover your resources more thoroughly, and engage the right change at just the right place and in the right amount.