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New Years – New Resolutions

Ringing in the New Year is a time of reflection for us – reflections of what we want to do differently and what we want to change. A typical conversation every January involves New Year’s resolutions, immediately followed by a discussion on how fast the resolutions are broken. Whether you are setting goals for yourself or your business, the greatest challenge is maintaining and sustaining these goals.

The experts who study change tell us that it is an ongoing process that requires us to reframe our thinking. Michael Fullan (2008) describes the secrets of change that supports a successful process that improves our chances of keeping our resolutions. The top three involve transparency, learning, and capacity building.

Transparency requires a non-judgmental openness about the new and existing practices and results. This openness allows a genuine reflection of the recurring problems and obstacles. Evidence of transparency can be seen in communication and the gathering and acting on data related to change efforts. The benefits of a transparent organization build credibility, increase staff satisfaction, and establishes a system of checks and balances.

Life-long learning is a hallmark of the 21st century and flexibility is the key to successful problem-solving. If transparency shines a light on the problems, learning allows for the improvements. Two components of learning involve identifying the practices that work and simultaneously develop new practices that get better results.

Capacity building is the glue that holds the process together. Sometimes defined as persistence, the capacity building reflects strength training, endurance, and building stamina in establishing new habits. For the capacity building to occur there needs to be a culture that supports risk-taking, collaboration, leadership support, and the availability of useful tools and resources.

While resolutions typically viewed with a tongue-and-cheek attitude, become the focus of systemic change that embraces transparency, learning, and capacity building then the sustainability of the resolution is possible. Understanding and internalizing this process requires an intentional effort of focus, clarity, and monitoring with the support from experts who can guide the organization or individual through the change. Literacy and Learning Solutions provides that support, using a concerns-based model to train, coach, and facilitate the change process. If your goal is to attain – maintain – sustain real growth, let’s have a conversation and put your plan into action.

Fullan, Michael. (2008). The six secrets of change.Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, CA.

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