4 Principles Driving Change

I admit it. I’m freaking out over change.

Any of you with kids “of a certain age” will understand when I tell you that I’m about to have a (gulp!) 16-year-old in less than a week. And while it pains me to think about how fast that blink-of-an-eye change can happen (like most parents), the change I’m having the MOST difficulty with is allowing him to drive and getting him a new (old) car to boot!

I reflected the other day on what a natural Change Leader my lovely teenager is as I noticed how, intuitively, he applied some of Kotter’s change model principles to me (his mom and Executive Sponsor) as he’s bringing me through my own little change curve:

  1. Establish a sense of urgency. His grade – A+. He’s been very effective in convincing me that MY life becomes easier when he can run errands and get himself to a bunch of different places. This is best summed up by the quote, “but Mom, I can TOTALLY go to the store to grab milk anytime you want after I get my license!!” Powerful stuff, considering how much driving I’ve done for him for 15+ years, and especially appealing given how many things he wants to go and do.
  2. Form a powerful guiding coalition. His grade – B+ – because he’s got his family and friends and their parents on his side, supporting his growth & development. And … he’s got a great group of friends that I trust to help influence him to make the right decisions when he’s out there driving (although I’m not sure “powerful guiding coalition” always applies when I think about a few of those silly teenage decisions they make sometimes).
  3. Create, and communicate, a vision. His grade – A+. See #1, relating to milk, above. I’m buying in.
  4. Consolidating improvements while producing still more change. His grade – B+. Drivers education, with me in the passenger seat, absolutely qualifies as “improvement” time, for sure. I can see how much he’s improved as he’s actually listened to my input and has become a driver I trust on the roads. The next set of changes for him (read: improvements) are around the corner, like a job to pay for gas on the car!

For me, there’s no better reminder that change is personal, change is hard and change involves letting go than this experience. Sometimes going through a very personal change experience is a great reminder of how even the BEST kinds of changes can be very stressful.

And, at the very least, I admit that I AM looking forward to no more Saturday morning emergency milk runs (hee hee). Promises, promises!!! Just wait till he has to live with THAT one.

Sheri Browning is a Partner at PeopleResults. You can reach her on Twitter @sbPResults.