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Getting on the Right Side of Change

To change someone, you have to get their support. They have to want to change, and they have to want you to help them. The only way that will happen is if they sense that you respect them. Therefore, if you want to change someone, you have to start by respecting them.

Not your typical stance! Most people I know, who want to change someone else, start by judging or assessing the other person as having faulty behavior – in other words, they start from a position of condescension. Their eventual failure is embedded in their starting stance. To help someone change requires a stance of collaboration, working together to find the beneficial behavior. You have to start as a partnership. I recall the wise advice of my insightful wife, Laura Baron, “First connect, then correct.”

This has application in the world of work. Anytime I start trying to influence someone I begin now with looking for some aspect of their personality that I admire. We are all so different, it’s not usually hard to find. I look for something the other person does well that it is easy for me to appreciate. Once I actually feel the respect in my heart, I have a different kind of relationship and a different emotional state emerges within me – one that is much more about working together than fixing another person. Together we face the same problem.

It reminds me of my supervisor at the World Bank when I worked in the Customer Service Department. We were having a problem with staff getting angry at Customer Service. And Customer Service was returning the favor. ‘Why can’t they just read the manual or use common sense?’ we were fond of saying. Well, with my supervisor’s help, I was able to shift from being on opposite sides of the issue, to joining them on their side and the two of us working together to find a resolution. It made all the difference, and helped turn around our entire department! Getting on the right side of change takes new skills.

That’s why I recently I wrote the report, What it Takes to Lead in 2018, identifying the new competencies required for leadership today. They include:

  1. Detecting Larger Patterns
  2. Identifying Disruptions
  3. Leading for Collective Impact
  4. Reframing Obstacles as Opportunity
  5. Intentional Self-Transformation

If this interests you, you can download the full report here. This link will take you to my new Driving Results page. I am releasing a series of reports and books, and in addition to linking to them in articles like this I will be placing them on the Driving Results page as they become available for you to download.


“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
– George Bernard Shaw