Last summer, in an effort to increase my level of physical activity, I decided to walk the dog for 20 minutes four times a week. I added a recurring task to my calendar on the days when it worked out best on my calendar.
The task reminder worked well for a while, until the weather started to get colder than I would normally want to take a walk. I felt content to let it slip. But the dog didn’t. Having become used to the habit of walking on a regular basis, she would come bark at me and run over to where we store her leash if we hadn’t taken our walk by the regular time yet. Even when it rained.
I had unwittingly created a change accomplice.
When you are implementing change, either on yourself or on an organization, having a partner you can count on to keep you on track can be an immense help, especially when the going gets tough.
A change accomplice has the following characteristics:
- An interest in seeing you and/or the change succeed
- Insightful observation skills to see that what you are doing isn’t working
- Brutal honesty to let you know when you are breaking your own promises
- Your respect so you will listen
Having a change accomplice can be especially helpful when you are a lone ranger in your organization, without a team of fellow change agents to give you the feedback you need.
You may find someone within your own organization who can fill that role for you. It’s probably not going to be your boss, whose accountability has different implications. It may be a friend or close colleague, someone you enlist to call it like they see it.
You may also find it useful to enlist the help of someone outside the organization, an objective person who has no vested interest in the organization or other interest besides helping you succeed. For example, I often fill the role of change accomplice when I partner with change agents as their coach.
Who is your change accomplice?