How to Create Change

A number of weeks ago while “channel surfing” YouTube, I “stumbled” on a video where Russel Brand, the comedian turned quasi philosopher, was being interviewed by Dr. Drew.  The topic was sad – drug addiction.   The segment was taped in front of a live audience of chemically dependent people and their family members who were trying to help them.

Aside from Mr. Brand’s unique personality, he shared a number of very interesting perspectives on life.  Russell, himself now sober, was confronted by one audience member seeking advice on how to overcome her many demons.

Russell got up from his chair, walked to the edge of the stage, looked the woman right in the eye and simply said, “one day at a time.  The only way to overcome your demons is one day at a time.”

There were no sarcastic remarks or efforts to be funny.  Brand, in my opinion, spoke from the heart with conviction, sincerity and brevity.

Recently a CEO shared with me his frustration that his team “won’t change.”  He asked, “what can be done differently that will ensure success going forward?”

I stated, “take one day at a time.  There’s no magic formula to ensure your team members will change.  In fact, it is only when each individual chooses to change that change is possible.  Even then, people can be so hardwired, dare I say ‘addicted’ to past behaviors that as leaders we must continually and patiently inspire and inspect when others don’t deliver.”

Holding people accountable takes hard work.  Provided others take responsibility for their actions, acknowledge their shortfalls and work to make steady, ideally daily, improvements, good will likely come.

When team members consistently place blame and make excuses for their failure to make progress, full on frustration can set in.  How then, can we help our fellow team members make positive change?

  • Face Forward – there is no sense dwelling in the past.  Assess past “failures,” learn from them and commit to making incremental improvements
  • Focus on the Now – don’t set yourself up for disappointment by expecting miracles in minutes.  Set appropriate but stretch goals
  • Put one foot in front of the other – establish daily milestones.  By committing to progress “one day at a time,” big change can be broken into bite size bits
  • Keep Score – what gets measured gets done.  Be disciplined in tracking progress
  • Celebrate with others – proclaim progress.  Being accountable to others is a grand catalyst to ensure progress is made.  Make your weekly outcomes public

Change is one of life’s certainties.  Creating change one day at time is the surest way to success.

Be the example.