Want Change? Start with yourself!

[This is a follow-up of my post about three crucial books.]

Starting with the (wo)man in the mirror The title really says it all: If you want change, you have to take some sort of action, to make it happen. It won’t happen by itself, with you just sitting around hoping for it. Today that seems blatantly obvious to me, but it wasn’t, when I first read it (in either “Crucial Conversations” or “Crucial Confrontations”).

I used to waste hours, thinking about how things would be different at work if only other people changed. I had a team that wasted several retrospectives with talking about other teams and how they should change. Looking back it’s almost funny:

We concentrated on something we have ridiculously little control over – other people’s actions – and hardly ever looked at what we have a whopping 99% control over – our own actions. We wasted truck loads of opportunities to improve. I guess, humans do this, because it’s much easier to require other people to change than to do something yourself to make that change happen. Easier, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.

So stop thinking about what others should do and ask yourself: “What can I do, so that others will change?” Try talking, for example. Or rearranging the environment. Or …

It’s harder, but it’s worth it!

PS: Coming to think of it, I had received that lesson some 10 years ago already:

Jens: So, Corinna, you’re unhappy with the situation?
Past me: Yes!
Jens: And why is the situation the way it is?
Past me: *shrug*
Jens: Because you haven’t done anything to improve it.

This conversation started me down a new path, with way more initiative on my part, than I’d ever shown before. Curious… I wonder why I had to learn it once again… Maybe because back then it was about changing structures and recently it’s about changing people? I hope this time it’ll stick that it’s a general rule 🙂
And, thanks Jens!

[Image source]