Are your skills of ethical influence, persuasion, and communication relevant in our constantly changing world? As it turns out, the ability to manage change may make the single biggest difference in the quality of your life, and your communications and persuasion skills might make the biggest difference in your ability to manage change.
Pareto’s principle tells us that we should focus our attention, energy and resources on the few things that make the most difference. So let’s spend a moment or two on the process of change and how to deal with it. Then we’ll ask how the ability to communicate and persuade improves changes in your management and quality of life.
Last week I was privileged to have been invited to attend the Engage Today/NOW conference. And one theme that flowed through multiple presentations, was that the pace of change is accelerating. See my quick post “Change Ain’t What it Used To Be,” on FaceBook.
In short, change is occurring faster than ever before. It is accelerating, unpredictable, and often exponential. Knowledge, for example, is doubling in five years or less and the number of people on the web doubled in the last two years. So change can overwhelm us. It is no longer even possible for any one individual to know all of the changes taking place in just one day.
What have we learned from the change that we have seen recently, and how do we flourish in times of radical and accelerating change?
1. Resistance to change is futile and destructive. You must begin by accepting change in order to live with it in a healthy way.
2. You must avoid the temptation of pretending to change – like thinking of new ways to do the same old thing. Real change to take advantage of opportunity is where the action is.
3. You must accept that there will be real risks in dealing with change and if you’re a leader you have to prepare others (within your company, family or community) for change and risk.
4. You cannot get too far ahead of the wave of change on any particular issue. If you do, you will lose the ability to lead and to bring others along. You need to bridge from the known to new paradigms, but they cannot be too far to bridge for most people.
In short, each of these major issues requires clear and articulable goals and desired outcomes that you can communicate to others. Without clarity and measurement, you cannot lead and you cannot convince others.
And, you need the skills of great persuaders and communicators. You need to be able to convince and motivate yourself to accept change and risk. You have to develop the discipline of constantly clarifying your goals and making them specific and easily communicated to others. And yet, you have to be able to adapt and explain on going change and risks.
Ok… great advice but how do we do this? As always, I focus not only on what we have to do, but how to do it. So stay tuned this weekend for Part II.
Photo Credit: lrargerich