By Debbie Craig, Managing Director, Catalyst Consulting and Kerryn Kohl, The Coaching House (editors of Accelerated Learning for Breakthrough Results, published by Knowledge Resources October 2014)
As organisational development consultants, we partner with many companies on a journey of transformation toward high performance and high engagement. We have experienced the exceptional, the good, the bad and the ugly, each with its own unique characteristics, capacity and willingness to change. We’ve found learning to be a lifelong natural process. We learn, grow and change continuously as we move through life and our natural tendency is to gravitate towards comfort and the known. Learning brings the unknown and discomfort of trying new things and potentially failing or looking incompetent (especially if externally imposed).
Learning requires that we change the way we think, what we think about, the depth or breadth of thinking, the time frame of our thinking and learning to understand the systemic interconnectedness of things. Learning requires that we change the way we feel and what we believe, especially when our paradigms, assumptions and stereotypes are challenged. Learning requires us to become more aware of our choices, our behaviour, the consequences of our actions and our impact on others. Learning requires us to leave the safe haven of the known, and embark on an uncomfortable but exciting journey of trying new things, feeling foolish, incompetent and humble. Learning requires letting go of the old disempowering beliefs, assumptions and ways of working and embracing the new more empowering approaches to living life and achieving success in a balanced, sustainable way.
Learning = change
Change (and therefore learning) requires awareness, insight, willingness and action. Change cannot happen without awareness (it’s not working, something needs to change), without insight (something I am thinking/feeling/doing needs to change), without willingness (I am willing to make the effort and be uncomfortable to change) and of course, change cannot happen without repetitive action and practice (I am doing what I need to everyday, to make the change part of my life).
Here are some 12 questions to help you assess your level of readiness for change:
- Are you clear about what is expected in your role – or have a role model?
- Have you asked for feedback from multiple people (including your family) to understand your strengths and gaps?
- Have you stood in front of the mirror and looked yourself in the eye and asked: “Am I truly happy with my behaviour and with my life?
- Have you fully acknowledged that you and only you can change your behaviour?
- Do you still blame others for lack of opportunity, training or coaching or the right environment to start building a new skill or behaviour?
- Have you looked deep within yourself to understand how your own habits, beliefs, assumptions, behaviours, blind-spots and perceived pay-offs influence your current behaviour?
- How willing are you to move out of your comfort zone and enter into the zone of uncertainty and potential risk and ridicule?
- Have you identified which fears (e.g. failure) may cause resistance and an approach to build courage and overcome these fears?
- Are you willing to forego the pay-offs of the old behaviour e.g. previous confidence and success, delicious fattening food, sleeping in?
- Are you taking daily action to learn or practice new skills or habits?
- Do you have a learning partner to hold you accountable e.g. a coach, friend, family member?
- Are you sticking to your calendar appointments with yourself or your learning partner?
Debbie Craig and Kerryn Kohl will be speaking on “accelerated Learning for breakthrough change” at our upcoming Organisational Development Conference, taking place on from 18-19 February 2015 in Johannesburg. This two-day conference will address the emerging trends in OD – addressing the demands of the future organisation! To learn more about their new book Accelerated Learning for Breakthrough Results – click here now.