New Year’s Resolutions – A Change Management Crisis

                  It is that time of year again, the last day of one year and heading into a new, shiny future.  The social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and even email are abuzz with resolutions.  I’ve seen notices of being nicer to people, the ever-popular dieting pledge and even a few to change jobs.  When I worked out at a local popular gym, every January it was the same.  Right after the New Year it was ridiculous to try to find an open weight or cardio machine due to all of the new people.  As frustrating as it was, I always knew it wouldn’t last – by mid-February or so all of the New Year’s Resolutioners (as I called them) would leave and it would be back to normal.  So why do we continue the cycle, and why do we seem to fail overwhelmingly at our resolutions?

                Instead of addressing this solely as an issue at one time of the year, let’s look at this from a change management perspective.  In any organization or team, we as leaders look to bring about change in an organized manner.  There must be planning, training, preparation and execution of the plan for it to be successful.  In order to enact lasting change, the leader and the team’s behavior and processes have to alter in a permanent manner.  I think we can agree that for a team, quick change is a challenge to handle and usually any process alterations are temporary at best.  So why do we throw all of this knowledge out the window when it comes to the end of one year and the beginning of a new one?

                I believe it is the hope and optimism of the human spirit.  We look to make our lives better and/or different; so we use the positive energy of a new year as the catalyst for our changes.  However, as someone who has made and broken plenty of resolutions of my own, I realize it is not always the recipe for success.  Just like springing new behaviors on my team can be a disaster, so can doing the same thing to myself.   Today, New Year’s Eve, I have certain behaviors, and tomorrow, New Year’s Day, those behaviors will still be there until I go through a mental and physical change management process essentially to train myself to do things differently. 

                For leaders, put it this way: Would you believe that the sun setting and rising on one day will somehow make your team members different people?  Maybe for the New Year, we, as leaders, should think about applying leadership and change management techniques personally and see how things turn out! 

Lori Buresh

CEO, The Professional Development Team

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