Department of the Environment and Energy
Leading with Influence Program
About supporting someone’s Improvement Goal
This page contains some background information and tips for supporting a program participant’s Improvement Goal.
If you would like to understand more about Improvement Goals in the context of the Leading With Influence program see the Introduction to Overcoming Immunity to Change™. The very short version is the Improvement Goal identified by the participant is a change they are committed to making but for which there is a stronger hidden commitment not to make that change. A major part of the Leading With Influence program is the discovery of that hidden commitment in order that the participant can actively work to overcome the assumption(s) that keep them “subject to” that hidden commitment.
If you watch the video linked in the Introduction to Overcoming Immunity to Change™ document you will see why the discovery of that hidden commitment is vital. While the discovery of the hidden commitment is necessary it is almost always insufficient to allow the Improvement Goal to be realised. An active and conscious process necessary.
This is where you as a supporter come in. Your role is very important. An intriguing aspect of this whole process is very often a person will already be partly or wholly actualising their goal while being unaware they are doing so! This is due to the unconscious resolution of cognitive dissonance that all human beings are subject to.
Your role is to help make the participant aware of their success in realising their Improvement Goal – realising in both the cognitive and material sense. The best way to do that is to send a message through the link you have been provided with whenever you see the person attempting (and hopefully) succeeding in manifesting their changed behaviour. These messages of support are added to a log (that only the person can see) so that over time they begin to have the narrative of a different story than the one they have been telling themselves.
You could of course just tell them which is also a good thing to do. It is, however, much more effective to give the support in writing because it is much harder for the person to “forget” your support and their success when they have an ever growing “body of evidence” before them that contradicts the assumption(s) behind the hidden commitment and affirms the fact that they are succeeding.
Note: it is not necessary for your participant to share their “hidden assumption” with you. What you are focussing on is the indicator that their internal processes are bearing fruit in the form of their Improvement Goal being actualised. You are simply helping them pay attention to the fact that this is happening.
You can use the page via the support link on your mobile device as well as your computer. It is best to send the message as soon as possible after witnessing the Improvement Goal in action.
Another more delicate piece of support is to bring to the attention of the person those times when you see what (you think) was an opportunity for them to step into their Improvement Goal and they did not take the opportunity. In this case it is preferable that you give that support in person and in the form of a question. Please do not assume that the person was unaware of the opportunity, or was aware but was too afraid to take it, or indeed did not take it. Instead, test your own assumptions by asking a question like: “I noticed in the meeting this morning what I thought was an opportunity for you to test out your Improvement Goal. Did you notice that too?”. From there, with the person’s consent, you have the opportunity to engage in a discovery process that holds to possibility of mutual understanding. By that I mean that the participant might see something they had missed and/or you might discover some assumptions you had about that situation.
After reading all this you might have the question “Why is all this so important?”. The short answer is that no meaningful organisational development can occur in the absence of personal change. It is probable that you could imagine many benefits to your team and work life in general if the Improvement Goal was more present than it currently is. In a future article I will expand on this idea.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.