The Immutable Truths of Behavioral Change

The Immutable Truths of Behavioral Change

On my latest trip my Sales Manager and I talked about a colleague of ours who’s behavior is causing problems with the team; which I won’t get into the details. She knows I’m not one to wait for things to get out of hand and wholeheartedly take the time to coach people. So she asked me: why don’t you coach him?

I’ve been around him long enough to know that he may have good intentions, but his attitude and actions are contradictory. Specifically there are many excuses and not a lot of follow through; it seems like he wants special treatment. He has a hard time adapting to an environment where he has to be more entrepreneurial, so his energy and focus isn’t consistent.

It’s something I’ve dealt with before, and know what the outcome is. In my lifetime I’ve learned that people will not change their ways unless they truly want to. And making that change is hard; habits die hard.

Marshall Goldsmith, renowned leadership coach, wrote in his book – Triggers: Creating Behaviors that Last & Becoming the Person You Want to Be –  that there are two immutable truths of behavioral change:

Truth #1: Meaningful behavioral change is very hard to do

We are our habits. Which means we have to stop doing old habits, the ones that keep us from making progress, and replace them with new ones. For example, my colleague clings to old ideas about how he used to get work done at his previous job; which don’t apply at our company.

Truth #2: No one can make us change unless we truly want to change

This one is the kicker. You can’t force people to change their ways. Change has to come from within.

Bottom line: Any person that wants to change has to know what he/she wants to change, be highly motivated to do so and disciplined enough to put themselves out of their comfort zone to achieve that change.

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