The Two-Step Process

The normal way for the normal change agent to behave is to engage in the following two-step process:
First, tell the target why they need to change.
Second, if telling fails, figure out a way to force the target to change.
This two-step process is so normalized, that unless I stay very mindful, I may employ it and my life will fill with unproductive power struggles.  The reader is likely to be guilty of this same pattern.  We all tend to repeat this process.  In doing so we refuse to recognize that in using force we damage the relationship and seldom obtain our desired long-term outcome.  The fact that we seldom obtain our desired end seems to make no difference, however.  We refuse to learn.  If we have to choose between control or effectiveness, we tend to choose control.

2 comments on “The Two-Step Process

  1. In my experience, one of the most essential elements in change making is not to make this mistake. The next part actually making change happen is even more difficult however: deep listening, moving to the abstract to understand principles and agree on the common objectives and then move toward testing the hypotheses developed about what will work – together. Important to be able to move toward working together toward a common goal. Hard to find, but possible in most all issues.

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