Thursday, December 23, 2010

Structuring Happiness in 8 Steps (2)

STEP 5: Empower Broad-based Action and Remove Barriers

Unleash yourself to do your best to achieve your vision. To bring about the changes which will bring happiness, you might be required to do things which you have not done before (or are uncomfortable doing them). You have to move out of the comfort zone and develop ease for those activities. Work and acquire the necessary skills. Update yourself regularly on the required tools.

Remove as many barriers as possible which obstruct you from bringing about the change you want. These could be in the form of time consuming activities which are hardly of any consequence like watching television, purposeless surfing on the net, etc. If your network of friends or relationships do not support the changes you want change have an honest dialogue with them and if required change your interactions with them.

STEP 6: Generate Short-term Wins

If your plans for a change require significant and/or long term effort, short-term wins (related to your strategy to change) are essential. Short term wins must be both visible and unambiguous. These short-term achievements provide positive feedback, increase motivation and help build up momentum. They also provide feedback to help you fine tune your vision. Savouring success would make you eager for more in a more efficient way.

Short term achievements are usually the result of careful planning and effort. Although you may see changes as you implement your strategy to change you have to identify the achievement milestones.

STEP 7: Don't Let Up (Consolidate Gains and Produce More Change)

As you start savouring victory there might be a tendency to relax, celebrate and take a break. This may result in your losing critical momentum resulting into regression. Once regression sets in, rebuilding momentum is a daunting task.

Continue removing the undesired behaviours. At each victory instead of relaxing reinvigorate with more changes in accordance with your vision and let more activities reflect the changed behaviour.

STEP 8: Make Change Stick (Anchoring New Approaches in the Culture)

To prevent resistance from re-asserting itself, the new behaviours must be diligently practiced to make them natural to you. The new practices must grow deep roots in order to become firmly planted, spontaneous and strong enough to replace old patterns of behaving.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Structuring Happiness in 8 Steps

People know that to be happy they need to make some changes. However most people are unable to bring about this transformation. Some dont begin and some efforts lose steam after a decent start.

John P. Kotter is widely regarded as the foremost speaker on the topics of Leadership and Change. He is considered an authority on how the best organizations actually achieve successful transformations. Dr. Kotter outlines a 8 Step Process to help organizations succeed in an ever-changing world.

I think the steps described by him can be adapted to bring about personal transformation to achieve more happiness.

STEP 1: Create a Sense of Urgency

Examine the realities which affect your happiness. Identify the problems and the major opportunities which exist, to create a sense of urgency.

The sense of true urgency comes from a deep determination to win and not from an anxiety about losing. Whatever might be our reason to seek happiness, urgent action will be created by a gut-level determination to move, and win, now and not by feelings of contentment, anxiety, frustration, or anger.

STEP 2: Develop your Guiding Team

You have to recognize the fact that the availability of the right people is very important to the success of your program. It is possible that you may not find a person with all the required expertise. Get in touch and associate with people who have related skills which you want to develop to be happy. Share your intentions with them. They should have your trust and respect so that whenever you are slackening they can drive you to move towards the change you desire.

STEP 3: Develop a Change Vision and Strategy

Be as clear as possible how the future will be different from the past. The vision should make sense both to the mind and the heart. This vision will help you to make efforts in the right direction and go the extra mile when required.

Concurrently develop strategies which will help achieve your vision of changed behaviour, which will result in greater happiness. Obviously the vision should be flexible to incorporate new learnings and effects of a changed environment.

STEP 4: Communicate the Vision

You have to constantly and consistently communicate your vision (and strategies) to yourself and if you want to members of your guiding coalition. Use several methods to communicate to yourself (notes, pictures, clips etc). Keep the communication simple and vivid (it should create a vibrant picture).

One powerful way to communicate to yourself would be to consciously exhibit changed behaviour consistent with your vision.