“Confidence is a lot of this game or any game. If you don’t think you can, you won’t.” – Jerry West
We (and many other businesses out there) talk a lot about the factors that impact change. We talk about accountability and leadership and vision and all sorts of other things. One thing we don’t talk about often enough is confidence. No organization can be good at change without confidence. It seems fairly intuitive when you think about it, and research backs it up.
Knowing confidence is important is only part of the battle. Another part is actually admitting you have a problem. I think confidence is a significant issue for most organizations when it comes to making change. You can hear it when they talk. They talk about how hard change is, they list all the reasons why change may fail, they talk about past failures, etc. But if you ask them if they’re confident they say yes. Think about your organization – do you and your people really believe you can make the changes you want? Ask yourself the same question about your personal life. Be honest with your answer.
The other part is you actually have to be able to impact the level of confidence in your organization. How do we gain confidence in our ability? Here are 3 suggestions:
Hard work. One of the ways we feel good about ourselves is by knowing we’ve done everything we can to prepare. If you’re going to give a presentation, and you’ve worked extremely hard to prepare, you’re probably going to feel better about your odds of success. The same is true for change. If you do the hard work to lay the groundwork for change, your odds of success are much better.
Self-talk. I mentioned this above. How do you talk about your ability to change? Do you tell yourself (and others) over and over how hard it’s going to be? Do you focus your energy on all the reasons why you might fail? Your mind is a powerful thing, but it’s easily manipulated. If you tell yourself something negative over and over again, eventually you’ll believe it. The bright side is that the same thing is true for being positive. Instead of talking about failure, talk about success. Talk about all the reasons why change is going to succeed. Focus your energy on what’s positive.
Success. It’s kind of a chicken or the egg thing. You need confidence to have success, but you need success to be confident. Try starting with small things. What is some low-hanging fruit that you can take on first? How can you break down what seems to be big change into smaller parts? Let yourself try “easy” things first. The more you successfully implement change, the more you’ll believe in your ability to handle it in the future.
None of this is rocket science. We’ve all seen people who are great at what they do and without exception they extremely confident. Being good at change is no different. If you & your organization think you can’t make change, you probably won’t. But if you think you can, the possibilities are endless. Do you believe?