No one likes change because it makes us uncomfortable. Change is like sailing into uncharted waters which most of us do not like to cross. To become effective as a person, a leader or an organisation we need to be willing to cross through uncharted waters and accept the change that it brings. We need an effective change agent. If we want to do something new then we need to head straight into the unchartered waters of change, to get out of our comfort zone.
Tony Jeary in his book Strategic Acceleration suggests that in every new endeavour, we must take four specific steps before you will become effective. He likens an effective change agent to an Effectiveness Laddercan learn to see a wider perspective or different points of view. with four rungs, each with its own characteristics. Each of the rungs represents an action we have to take if we wish to bring about change. Each run is a challenge we must overcome on our way to the fourth and last rung. Each run challenge our comfort zone, pull us out of it so that we
The rungs of Jeary’s Effectiveness Ladder begins with No 1.
Rung 1 – Becoming aware of a need.
Rung 2 – Clarify the need.
Rung 3 – Focus on the need.
Rung 4 (final) – Execute the need.
Here is a brief summary of each of the four steps.
Rung 1. Becoming Aware of the Need
Our biggest problem is that we do not know that there is a need until we are presented with something new that we do not understand. Our usually reaction is to ignore it. This often happens with technology which is constantly changing around us. Unless we are willing to look at the change of technology around us, then how are we to know if it is of use in what we are doing? Perhaps it has no use; perhaps it will make what we are trying to do easier or even revolutionize the way we do things. On this rung we need to challenge ourselves to look at something new, something we do not know or understand. A bit like people in the days of horses and carriages looking upon the invention of the automobile; is the automobile going to be useful?
Rung 2. Clarify the Need
On this rung we become aware of what we did not know. However we still need to up skill ourselves so that we know how to use whatever it is that we have found. Here we need to make a decision to go through the pain of learning something new, a new way of doing something or we can choose to leave it behind. We need to make a decision. Here it is important to clarify our need. We need to learn to drive, to evaluate its usefulness.
Rung 3. Focus on the Need
On this rung we embrace the need we have discovered. We take action and respond to it with time and investment so that we can learn and through the learning bring about change. This is a difficult step initially. The faint hearted might draw back but with perseverance and focus we will learn what is needed. We will break through to the required change. Like learning to drive a car, at first it requires concentration as we go through every aspect of driving, being aware of every move we make. However after we have been driving for a while all these movements come naturally without any thought.
Rung 4. Execute the Need
At this level the task has become second nature. We have become an accomplished driver. We now have the skills required to deploy what it is that we have had to learn with ease and effectiveness. We have become skilful and effective and are comfortable with the changes; with the need we identified earlier in the process. We have learned a new concept, skill or integrated a new tool into our life.
Life is moving very fast these days; with new things we know nothing about coming over the horizon all the time. In our world we need an effective change agent to be aware of what is around us, keep up with innovation, products, concepts and tools that can make us more effective. There is so much coming our way all the time we need to be able to discern what is useful very quickly. We need to have clarity around what our needs are and quickly evaluate anything new, without the fear of the challenge of change, to see if it could be effective in our lives. We need to learn to climb the Effectiveness Ladder more quickly, which means getting used to moving outside our comfort zones, to develop clarity, focus and a willingness to act when it is necessary.