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How to become a champion of change

"Change is difficult, but not for the reasons people tend to think," says Toni Paloheimo in this week's column.

“Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it! Action has magic, grace and power in it,” said Goethe.

You’ve seen it. I’ve seen it. Everyone who’s spent longer than three months in working life has seen and experienced it: a change project that begins with hassle, drums and enthusiastic proclamations, yet ends up on top of the pile of other unfinished projects. No fanfares, no sparkling wine.

Change is difficult, but not for the reasons people tend to think. It’s often blamed on resistance to change, always raising its ugly head and complicating the change managers’ lives.

I say: the whole term is a trumped-up concept created by failed leaders attempting to save their own dignity amidst a humiliating defeat. The whole phrase should be banned. People don’t actively oppose change. Studies show the real answers to why changes fail, and it’s not people wanting to stay stuck in the mud out of principle.

The most important factors behind failed change are:

Number 1: People don’t engage. They lack motivation as they are just playing a compulsory yet meaningless role on a big stage.

Number 2: The fact that hurrying and undone work already fill up the day (and a little more) is ignored.

Number 3: The leadership is only interested in planning the change and talking about it. Few have the energy to get excited about practical implementation.

Engaging people in the changes, and not only in the form of coffee and cake, is a good starting point. Active participation leads to commitment.

The change must be concrete. Doing things helps people learn often better than abstract ideas and mere thinking; and it’s visible to everyone, whereas thinking often remains imprisoned in one’s mind. Doing resonates, spills and feeds.

Change must also be handed out in moderation. The larger the amount of changes, the more likely they are to fail. One or two everyday habits can easily be adjusted, but five can be too much. Patience is golden.

We all know that becoming a champion takes work and exercise. It’s possible to start practicing change from one’s own habits. Hence, we invite everyone to take part in Nanohabit Challenge. Who wants to be the next champion of change? Which country can turn change into competitive advantage?

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit,” said Will Durant, summing up Aristotle.

Published on 03.08.2017