Paul was a heavy drinker in high school, an alcoholic really. Shortly after graduation he realized the suffering his alcoholism was causing him and his family. He broke ties with his high school drinking buddies and started a new life of sobriety. For years he’s been sober and his life has improved.
This May was Paul’s 10 year high school reunion. He reunited with his old drinking buddies for that one reunion night. That night turned into a weekend to catch up, and another and another. Paul started drinking again. All those years of sobriety, of a better life, could not overcome the coercive power of those old friends and their old ways.
Whether Paul will ever be sober again, no one knows.
In organizations, I see this story play out as people struggle to break free from their old driving people behaviors and create a new life of driving change.
Paul’s old friends all still drive people. Their implementations fail. They are full of pessimism, arrogance, fear, and cynicism.
Paul has few new friends that support them as he practices driving change, but those few friends are full of enthusiasm, faith, trust and reality-based pride. Their implementations succeed.
Recently I’ve watched a few people like Paul lose years of driving change habit forming (and any grasp of the amazing results driving change produced) when they were brought together with old friends who only know driving people. It makes me sad to think about it.
Yes, driving change is different.
Yes, driving change is difficult, especially when all the world around you is set on driving people.
But, driving people doesn’t have to win. You can choose a different life, for yourself and for your organization.
Only you can decide if the old habits of driving people will win or if you will persevere and keep driving change.
You’re never be alone when you’re driving change because I’ll be here if you need me.
Let’s keep driving change together.