Few organizations have escaped the need to change, as new generations of workers have entered the market, new technologies have reshaped entire industries, changes in government regulations have impacted how a company can do business, and societies continue to evolve and people continue to demand new products and services. Whether it’s a desire for growth, or a need to improve, change is inevitable. As the proverbial saying goes, “the only thing that is constant, is change” (Heraclitus).

Although executives can change their companies’ strategy, products, or processes, real change does not happen until the people within those organizations actually change what they do.

Most of the work I do when coaching my clients is showing them ways to change certain behaviours –

  • To change the way they conduct themselves to get better results;
  • To change how they communicate to better influence others;
  • To change the manners in which they operate on a daily basis;
  • To change their own leadership style to be more charismatic.

However, change is hard, and making it stick is even harder. So, in today’s Carolyn Talks, I discuss how to make a change stick. You can also check out our other blogs, Shift Happens and You Can Count on Change for more advice on managing change. 

Video Transcript:

Bloopers: All right, all right. Okay. Let’s loosen up. All right, all right. Good. This is fun. Okay.

Hey there, it’s Carolyn Stern. You’re watching Carolyn Talks, the channel to watch if you want to get un-stuck, maximize your potential, and achieve more.

Are you someone that’s trying to change a behaviour, but just can’t make it stick? I struggle with that. I’ve lost weight before, hit my goal, and then I would gain it all back. Well, there’s a model that I learned called the 5 Stages of Change, by Prochaska, and it made me realize why the change wasn’t sticking. Today I want to talk to you about those 5 steps.

The first step is Pre-Contemplation, so not knowing that you even have a problem.

I remember looking at a picture, and then realizing, wow, I had a weight problem. Before, I didn’t know, was pre-contemplation.

The second stage is Contemplation, so you go into from not knowing to knowing.

My question for you is, what do you need to go from not knowing to knowing? You need awareness. That picture gave me the awareness. Once you know better, you do better.

The third step is Preparation.

Once you know you have a problem, you have to do something about it. You have to make a plan, whether that’s going to the gym, eating vegetables and fruits, whatever it is. The situation is you have to be committed to it, and that’s the key. I didn’t realize that commitment was so important. Unless you’re truly committed … here’s the thing about weight loss, I always thought you got to the goal, but once you get to the goal that’s just the beginning. You have to be committed to a lifetime of eating a different way.

The fourth step is taking Action, so acting out your plan.

In my case, it was going to the gym or eating fruits and vegetables.

The fifth step is Maintenance.

How do you go from acting out your plan to maintaining it?

You need what I call a Relapse Prevention Program. What is that?

Listen, you’re all going screw up because change is hard, right? The thing is, we all try to be perfect but it’s not a straight line. You need, while you’re strong, to come up with a relapse prevention program. What are you going to do when you screw up? In my case, if I ate junk food I would just get on the treadmill for 15 or 20 more minutes. Come up with a relapse prevention program.

There you have it, the 5 Stages of Change: Pre-Contemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, and Maintenance.

The key 3 ingredients are this: you need the awareness that you have a problem, you need to be committed to working your plan, and you need a relapse prevention plan.

I have a question for you. What change are you trying to make? Leave a comment below.

Sometimes the best discussions happen after the episode. If you need a little inspiration for the week, check out this golden nugget. I’ll see you at the next Carolyn Talks.