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Change Is a Process — not an event


I think we all know that things are constantly changing, whether or not we are paying attention to the changes. It may seem that everything is the same today as they were yesterday, but they aren’t. Even if we don’t notice, nothing is quite the same today as it was yesterday. Things change, people change, circumstances change, and we change too.

What this fact of life and living demonstrates is that change is a process and not an event. The outcome may appear to be spontaneous but never is. Fortunately, we can usually understand what happened if we stop to consider it carefully. Even if we don’t understand, we know that the change was a result of a process that is just not clear to us.

At times, we decide that we are not satisfied with the status quo and want things or circumstances to change. The change we want may be for us, our family, a specific relationship, our work team, our company or other organization, our community, or within any context where we think change is desirable or necessary. That is when we consider initiating the change process. We know we don’t like how things currently are, and we have a notion about how we would like them to be. Getting from where things are now to how we want them to be is an example of the change process that is always chugging away. For this change though, we intend to be the change agent.

Whenever you intend to be the change agent, there are twelve questions you should ask and answer before initiating the change process that leads to the change you want; and the bigger or more important the change is for you and for others, the more critical it is for you to ask and answer the twelve questions.

Here are the twelve questions. Answer each “Yes,” or “No,” in relation to the change process you intend to initiate. For these questions, “yes” is only “Yes” if you are quite sure. If not, the answer is “NO,” until you are sure.

1. Do you expect the change process to succeed, to make a positive difference?

2. Do you have a realistic vision of or perception of success – how things will be when the change succeeds?

3. Are you personally motivated by the likely payoff or outcome of the change?

4. Do you understand that – in the long run – it would take as much time and energy to maintain the status quo or current situation as it will to get the payoff from the change?

5. Are you prepared to take full responsibility for your participation and interaction throughout the change process?

6. Do you understand your active role and influence in the change process?

7. Do you understand and are you committed to what will be required for the process to succeed?

8. Are you confident in your ability to do what is necessary to realize the expected change?

9. Are you comfortable working with the others involved in the change process?

10. Are you looking beyond simple self-interest in the change succeeding?

11. Do you see each participant benefiting from his or her participation in the change process?

12. Are you being realistic about your ability, skill, and capacity to function effectively within the change process?

Did you answer “Yes” to each of the twelve questions? If so, you are good to go. If not, you would be well advised to give a little more thought to it be fore initiating the change process you are contemplating.

Now you know so there you go.