Employee Engagement: Don’t neglect the “ready” of “ready, set, go!”
Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons Commercial: Time for Change
Are you trying to change a disengaged employee into a more engaged employee? Are you wanting to create more personal engagement? Are you responsible for some new initiatives to enhance employee engagement in your organization?
RAW is an acronym for ready, able, and willing. These 3 concepts are keys in assessing possible changes and creating influence. Ensure that all 3 are given attention in creating change for ourselves, others, and organizations.
3 Ways Change Fails.
- Change may fail when we are not ready even though we are willing and able.
- Change may fail when we are ready and able but not willing.
- Change may fail when we are ready and willing but not able.
6 Stages of Change. There is a model of change called the Transtheoretical model of change. This is also referred to as Stage of Change or (SOC). This is the dominate model in health behavior change. Although the model was developed for health behavior we can transfer the concepts to much change experienced by individuals and organizations. The first 3 stages of the model help us understand readiness to change. Please note the first 3 stages all occur before action:
- Precontemplation – “people are not intending to take action in the foreseeable future, usually measured as the next 6 months”
- Contemplation – “people are intending to change in the next 6 months”
- Preparation – “people are intending to take action in the immediate future, usually measured as the next month”
- Action – “people have made specific overt modifications in their life styles within the past 6 months”
- Maintenance – “people are working to prevent relapse,” a stage which is estimated to last “from 6 months to about 5 years”
- Termination – “individuals have zero temptation and 100% self-efficacy… they are sure they will not return to their old unhealthy habit as a way of coping” (From Wikipedia Transtheoretical model)
Don’t just catch the last stage out of town. Before moving to action ensure adequate attention and dialogue occurs around the first 3 stages of change. We will not get very far if our team or our leadership is not even contemplating change even though we think we have a great idea that will improve work.
Opportunies for Employment. I had the good fortune to work with this agency in Winnipeg that has been so successful in helping people gain employment. I assisted them with the research and development of a pilot project to ensure that the Stages of Change (SOC) and change readiness was part of their approach. As they summarize on their website:
Estimates are that less than 20% of people who are making changes in their lives are in the Action stage at any given time, but about 90% of all programs designed to assist with change are intended for people in that Action stage. Those that have been labelled as “failures” to make or sustain change in programs that centre around the Action stage may not be as “resistant” to change as some might want you to believe, but rather the services offered possibly did not meet their needs by addressing the Stage of Change they were in at the time.
Ask yourself: Am I attempting to move towards action (stage 4) too early before there is a full readiness to change?
A motivational interview. One approach that can be quite helpful is to practice the principles of Motivational Interviewing. I first became aware of these concepts in the 1990’s while I was involved in teaching counselling psychology. They were refined by Miller and Rollnick in their work in Motivational Interviewing. Motivational interviewing is used in counselling and is based on the following principles.
- Motivation to change is elicited from within the client and not imposed externally
- It is the client’s task, not the counsellor’s, to articulate and resolve his or her ambivalence
- Direct persuasion is not an effective method for resolving ambivalence
- The counselling style is generally a quiet and eliciting one
- The counsellor is directive in helping the client to examine and resolve ambivalence
- Readiness to change is not a client trait, but a fluctuating product of interpersonal interaction
- The therapeutic relationship is more like a partnership or companionship than expert/recipient roles
Change from speech to interview. I am not suggesting as a manager or leader that you become a therapist what I do encourage you to do is think about how you might modify your approach to draw out discrepancies and ambivalence rather than trying to add more motivation to someone who is not ready. We need to enter change dialogue rather than relying on motivational speeches.
Help the other person find their own reasons to change. With most bad habits, people have moments of clarity. Moments when we feel a desire to change. Skillful influencers can help others extend the potency of these moments by reacting with a motivational interview rather than a motivational speech. A motivational interview is a simple, structured way to help others explore and crystallize their own reasons to change and plan for doing so rather than taking control and forcing our own agenda on them. How you react during small moments of motivation can either help others capitalize on them or overpower them with your own well-intended but overwhelming motivations.
Get Ready. So before we get busy with action plans and interventions pause to ensure that you, your organization, or the team you manage are ready for change. Ask yourself these 3 quick questions
- Are we ready for change?
- Are we able to change?
- Are we willing to change?
Be mindful of readiness. Consciously attending to change readiness in addition to motivation and ability will go a long way to helping you becoming a powerful influencer to change the behavior of yourself, others, and an organization.
An earlier version of this article appeared on the Shared Visions Website.
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David Zinger is ready, willing, and able to increase employee engagement. He works with organizations and individuals to improve employee engagement. His writing, speaking, coaching, and consulting focus on helping organizations and individuals increase employee engagement by 20%. David founded the 3360 member Employee Engagement Network. The network is committed to increasing employee engagement 20% by 2020.
Contact David today to increase engagement where you work. (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / Phone 204 254 2130 / Website: www.davidzinger.com)
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