Lesson 4 – The Ten Commandments of Change

The Ten Commandments of Change

Sam Deep and Lyle Sussman suggest there are Ten Commandments associated with change. They are also commandments that can be applied to our dealings with others at all levels and for all reasons. They are:

Expect the best.

And it isn’t enough to expect the best; you have to tell your employees, especially, what you expect of them. This ideally will happen as they are hired, but if not then, it’s still not too late. Set up a meeting with them and talk with them today. Asking improves your chances of getting by about 200%. Of course, this is also a good time for you to find out what they expect of you.

Listen before talking; think before acting.

For some of us, this comes hard. We are used to talking our way through things. But if you, for example, set up a meeting with an employee about what your expectations are, you are apt to be more successful if you do some advance planning. Think about what you want. Think about how you will say it. Modify your style to better fit with their style. Script your part of the discussion, or prepare an agenda.

Get to the point.

How many of you used to read Ann Landers letters from readers complaining about guests who didn’t take the hint it was time to go home, or spouses who didn’t get the message their anniversary was approaching? We aren’t good at reading what isn’t said. That is why having a plan and a script can be invaluable when you speak to an employee. You can get to the point faster and more diplomatically. Make sure the message is received and understood.

Change what they do, not who they are.

Talk about behaviour, not personality. As you plan a discussion, think about the behaviours you want to change and the behaviours you want to see. Don’t even waste your breath discussing attitude. We don’t know another person’s attitude. At best we make guesses based on attitude.

When we pull up at the McDonald’s drive through and order a Big Mac, all we want is for the attendant to be pleasant, prompt, and give us what we ordered along with right change. The person may have the attitude that anyone who takes the drive through route is just too lazy to come in to the counter. We don’t know, and we don’t care. Just give us the burger.

Model the behaviour you desire.

We are the role models for our staff. It’s back to that reciprocal stuff again. We usually get back what we put into something. Children become a reflection of their parents, and our staff takes their cue from us. If the values expressed are not the values observed, we become very cynical about the person and the organisation.

Adapt your approach to the person.

We may have a different style from the person we are dealing with. However, as a flexible communicator, we can adapt or modify our approach.

Provide for dignity and self respect.

Try Anthony Robbins’ Agreement Frame or the words I read somewhere that said these were the sweetest words in the English language:

  • I admit that I was wrong
  • You did a good job
  • What is your opinion?
  • If you please
  • Thank you
  • You/We

Appeal to self-interest.

We come back to “What’s in it for me?” We are usually far more comfortable talking about what we want and need rather than what our employees want and need. However, if keep in mind the object of the exercise is to win them to our way of thinking, then we really must see the situation through their eyes as well as our own.

Rejoice at success.

When they succeed, celebrate!

Cut your losses with remorse, not guilt.

Sometimes, you just won’t win.

We know that it takes about 21 days to develop a new positive habit (and we can lose a positive habit almost overnight), and we also know that putting changes into effect within 48 hours is the surest way of making these changes stick.