Often people will point to skills, experience, schooling etc… when it comes to someone’s ability to learn something new (change), execute differently (change), drive more safely (change) and the list goes on.
I have found however that there are some very common roadblocks to change:
1. Skills can be learned and ignored (i.e. good writing technique).
2. Rules can be understood and thrown out the window (i.e. driving).
3. And often, the people with the most experience are the ones who have the hardest time learning something new (Conscious or subconscious resistance).
I’m in the “willingness” business. My task is to come in and collaborate with entrepreneurs, executives and their teams to create better results. My greatest challenge is to sustain the willingness of my clients. I was at dinner with a client a couple years ago immediately after delivering an afternoon of training to his team. He asked me “What’s your biggest fear about this project?” I flatly responded “That you won’t do anything with it.”
The initial excitement about growing revenue gets most to dive in and help. An initial uptick in productivity continues to provide some momentum but until each person involved makes a commitment to execute in the new “context” or “paradigm” (more words to hate), then it’s a big old waste of money and time.
Most of us, with just about anything we do professionally, are in the willingness business. We have a better product or service that, if utilized properly (change), will make life, work, relationships – you name it, better. My colleague and I recently came up with some language that we call our Critical Success Factors and we include these terms on the first page of our engagement proposals. These must be mutually agreed upon by us and our prospective client before we even discuss our engagement with them. I am going to share these terms with you in hopes you find them useful for your next client engagement or conversation with a prospective client. You can copy it or make up your own. Maybe it will help set the tone for the willingness your client or prospect needs to have to truly change.
Critical Success Factors
We need your commitment to succeed! The following is a list of things we commit to you and in exchange will need from you and your team, over the duration of the project and beyond, to ensure its success.
5. Willingness to Change
6. Adherence to Communication Schedule
7. Honesty & Candor
Maybe you can call this the “Seven Requirements of Willingness” – apologies to Steven Covey. If just getting a deal in the door is your goal, don’t worry about this. If adding real value to your clients, partners and other professional relationships is your goal then give this a shot so there is clarity about what it will take to create real, sustained change.