Published on December 7, 2012 by Alan Allard
It’s interesting to me that both “companies” and individuals talk about wanting things to change in some way, then turn around and resist that change–without even knowing it.
For things to change for the better (for a company or for you) there are four keys:
We have to take full responsibility for the change we want
We have to be congruent about what we want
We have to do something different
We have to be patient until we find what works–and then be patient as we make mistakes, refine what we are doing and then go at it again
You would think all this is simple–and it is–it’s just not always easy. Take the matter of accepting full responsibility.
What happens in the corporate arena? Leaders blame their people and employees blame leadership. All the while, there is little conscious awareness of blame going on–most think they are taking responsibility; few ever admit to blaming others.
What happens in our personal lives? We blame the economy or our company for not having the career success we want. We say we want to get fit and healthy and then say we don’t know how, don’t have the time to exercise or that we have tried and tried without success–which translates into “It’s not my fault” and the word “fault” is full of blame and judgment.
And therein lies a big problem. We often don’t know how to take responsibility without blaming self and feeling awful about it.
It’s much easier for leaders or individuals in their personal life to simply say the problem is “Out there,” not “In here.”
What’s the solution? In part, it’s realizing that taking responsibility isn’t about blame or accusation. It’s about saying “It’s my job to make this better” and saying that without judgment, accusation or blame. Sounds simple, but doing that is hard for many of us.
Successful leaders have learned to accept responsibility instead of saying everything would be great if others would just do their job right. Real leaders don’t blame their team for not following them–they ask themselves how they can learn to have more influence over their team.
When it comes to our personal life, emotional intelligence allows us to recognize that no one is coming to our rescue–our job is to learn how to be happier now and to figure out a way to get more of what we want, whether it be for our career, relationships, health or finances.
All that takes inner strength, which is another way of saying it takes more self-love and self-acceptance. Judging, criticizing and blaming self just creates more internal resistance and an atmosphere of fear.
Positive change on the organizational or personal level begins with knowing what you want, taking responsibility for it bringing it about, doing something different, and being patient along the way.
Doing all that is both simple and hard. Simple to know what to do; sometimes hard to actually do. We get defensive, feel we’ve done everything we can do and then look for reasons outside of self to explain why things are the way they are.
But deep down, we know that the reason things are the way they are boil down to what is within us, not what is on the outside of us. That’s actually good news–since the only place we have any control is within.