Remember that goal you set at the beginning of the year? The feedback you were given? The plan for where you want to be in 2 years?

How’s it going? Making a lot of progress?

The truth is, most of us don’t get too far in our goals to improve as managers and leaders. We have the best intentions. We want to learn new skills, change behaviors, or accomplish good things.

So, what gets in the way?

“One answer is that change seems too complicated,” says CCL’s Cynthia McCauley. “Too much information, too many moving parts, too many distractions.”

McCauley — along with CCL’s Peter Scisco, Jean Leslie, and Rob Elsey — set out to solve that problem.

The result is Change Now! — part workbook, part self-help guide, part inspiration, and a 100% hands-on, doodle-worthy, shareable way to make changes that matter most to you.

Change Now! distills the theory and tactics that we know work and puts them into one unintimidating, creative, easy-to-do process,” says co-author Peter Scisco.

“You don’t have to wade through a bunch of theory or figure out what step to take next,” he adds. “We want you to put your time and energy into being better and doing better.”

5 Steps to Simplify Change

infographic showing 5 steps to becoming a better leader and change now

The book Change Now! takes you through these 5 steps that will help you follow through on a change in your life:

1. Get Focused. Yes, you have a massive list of things you could do, should do, or want to do — but you can only change one thing at a time. Pick one.

  • Focus on a change that energizes you.
  • Focus on a change that creates positive outcomes.
  • Focus on a change that is at the right level of difficulty — not so easy that you don’t feel challenged, and not so difficult that you can’t make the change.

2. Choose “What.” This is also called goal setting. Do you need to change how you act? Improve a skill? Make things happen?

Choose just a few important goals, then:

  • Write them down.
  • Post them.
  • Say them aloud!

3. Figure Out “How.” You need a plan. You won’t change by wishful thinking or a vague to-do list. Can you put as much time into planning how you achieve your goals as you would planning a vacation?

Your change plan should be built around 4 things:

  • Tactics. What are you going to do? When will you do it?
  • Resources. What will you invest? What is available to you? What do you need from others?
  • Tracking. How will you check how you’re doing? When will you check?
  • Celebrating. How will you reward yourself when you achieve milestones and goals? Who will you celebrate with?

4. Anticipate Trouble. Things will go wrong. You will be thrown off. Anticipate obstacles, adapt, find a Plan B, don’t freak out or give up. Be on the lookout for top troublemakers:

  • Time
  • Other people
  • Fear

5. Change Now. Take a step. Take another. Put your plan into action, monitor your progress and make necessary adjustments along the way. Remind yourself to:

  • Keep your eyes on the finish line.
  • Pay attention to your impact.
  • Meet failures head-on.
  • Adapt and adjust.

Are you ready? The authors of Change Now! say you are. You already have ideas and dreams and glimmers of what’s next — personally and professionally.

If you are waiting for a better time to get started — don’t. If you are waiting to have more time — it’s not going to happen. If you don’t know what you need to learn — pick something. Action and effort will bring unexpected ideas, insights, rewards — and results.

Help your leaders align their change efforts with their team, peers, boss, and the larger organization using our Leading People Through Change Workshop Kit.

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