The Two C’s of a Successful Change

The very nature of our world demands that we change, that we improve and that we advance. Now although many of us understand that, change is easier said than done.

I am a big advocate for the idea that making any transition should be as easy as we can possibly make it, because making adjustments is already quite tricky.

With that, I want to introduce a simple concept that I call the ‘Two Cs’ that individuals and teams can apply as they navigate changes, unlearn who they once were and re-align with their ‘next level’.

The great thing is that the concept of the ‘Two Cs’ can be applied when we are supporting others through their own changes too. Note that I didn’t say ‘changing others’ – yes, it is in the title.

The reason for this is that we are powerless when it comes to changing others, because the decisions to make a change and then to act on this change take place in a person’s mind, which they are fully in control of.

My suggestion to leaders, then, is always to ‘support’ team members through change and contribute to an environment that makes the change fruitful and successful for them. The same will apply to every individual who is convinced that the next person needs to make some kind of change.

The ‘Two Cs’ can also be applied to our ambitious attempts to change the world. Although this may seem an impossible feat, my thoughts are that every individual and team moves the needle in one way or another. No situation we enter into is the same after we’ve left it, by virtue of our existence, we are influencing others and our world. The question then becomes ‘what is the nature of the change we are making to the world?’ Make sense?

Now let’s talk about these ‘Two Cs’ and how they can assist us change ourselves, support others as they change / positively influence the world: 

  1. Compassion – The process of change implies a rewiring of neural connections or at least the introduction of new synapses and firing patterns. Every change made outrightly is represented in this form in our brains. Now, it’s important that we understand that this is an extremely taxing process. And because making any profound change to your ‘normal’ is difficult, when we introduce compassion, we acknowledge this great difficulty and we give the needed encouragement for resilience.

Think back to the last change you wanted to make in your life or within your team. In what way did receiving encouragement or not receiving it, impact the process? Leaders who are able to provide scaffolding for changing teams are able to inspire others to develop.

This is similar to the concept of empathy, which implies attempting to get a deeper understanding of what the ‘other’ may be experiencing as they change. Extending empathy to ourselves, to others and to the world means that we are able to see ourselves or the ‘other’ not as they currently are, but as who they have the capacity to become.

Having worked as a primary school teacher, I have noted with a warm heart, just how compassion can provide the much needed support to a person undergoing a profound change in their life.

Questions to ask:

  • What other information am I isolating that could help me better understand?
  • Which factors might be influencing their approach to the change?
  • In what way might the change be threatening?
  • How can I use my actions and words to show support during this change?
  1. Challenge – I mentioned in the beginning that our very nature demands that we change, but what I didn’t mention was that a very big part of influencing a living creature or entity to develop, is to challenge it – flora, fauna, humans, organisations etc. I’m sorry to say this, but we can be compassionate until we are blue in the face – unless we are challenged or encouraged to do so, we will never progress. Challenge is highly underrated as an influencer of change, and what I’ve found in my work with transitioning teams, is that creating an environment that places a demand on the individuals, team and the world to develop, encourages everyone involved to ‘rise to the occasion’.

I’m reminded again of my primary school teaching days, when I’d watch the children play games such as hop scotch or jump rope. If you’re familiar with these games, you’ll know that players take turns. As one player progresses, the next must ‘take their place’ and keep the game going.

I remember playing jump rope myself. As the player before me exited the rope, I would be overwhelmed with a combination of excitement and anxiety in the form of a voice in my head saying ‘your turn, jump in!’.

This is what challenge looks like for me – it’s the consistent invitation to jump in, to progress, to show up as better and improved.

It often means we’re both anxious and excited, but it requires action that results in a better version of ourselves, our teams and our world.

The more we are called on to ‘jump in’, the sharper our skills, the deeper our experience, the calmer our approach and the more wisdom we bring to the next jump.

Questions to ask:

  • What new insights, skills, ideas are needed to progress to the next level and how can I help facilitate these?
  • In what way can the challenge aspect of the change be broken up into pieces and introduced in segments?
  • In which ways are environment and networks challenging me/them to improve?
  • How are the challenges responded to and what might these responses imply?

I get immensely excited when I engage in conversation around change and making transitions equally exciting for others. But the truth is: because it isn’t always a party to make changes to dogmas that have served us for an extend period, I always advise we pair the much needed challenge with sprinkles of compassion.

The very nature of our world demands that we change, that we improve and that we advance, especially in little doses on a consistent basis. 

The combination of the ‘Two Cs’ helps us, our teams and the world to do exactly this, whatever our next level might be at any given time.

In the face of disruptive change, Zanele, author of today’s Tuesday Tip, assists organizations to become future fit: adaptable, resilient, innovative, proactive and confident through helping them crack the unlearning code.

She does this by facilitating the understanding that learning, unlearning and relearning must be the crux and heart of an organisation’s DNA if they are serious about being future-fit.

TomorrowToday Global