Change Requires Commitment

Four frogs are sitting on a log. One decides to jump. How many are left?

Most people say “three.” The answer is “four.” Just because one decides to jump doesn’t mean he does it. Decision does not automatically translate into action.

That’s one of the myths in change management. Too often I hear leaders and managers telling their employees: “We’re at a crossroads. We’ve got to make a decision. It’s time to change.” They give their speeches and send out their memos, and then wonder why the change efforts aren’t going so well.

What’s really needed is COMMITMENT and ACTION. The great explorer, Captain Cook, knew that more than 200 years ago when he named his ships “Resolution,” “Endeavor,” and “Discovery.” In fact those three words wouldn’t be a bad motto or a bad process for organizations to follow in the 21st century.

People ask me if change takes time. I say, “No. It takes commitment.” We can’t have people behaving like the Kamikaze pilot who flew 188 missions. He was busy, but he wasn’t committed. If you or your organization are facing a change and want it to go well, you have to do more than decide. You’ve got to make a commitment.

The comedian, George Burns, commented on that when he was in his 90’s. He said, “When you think you’re right, stick to your guns, no matter how much opposition you have to put up with. As Gracie said on one of our shows, ‘They all laughed at Joan of Arc, but she didn’t cave in. She went right ahead and built it’.”

Once you’ve made a commitment, you’ve got to take some ACTION. It’s like the frog on the log. He had to do more than decide. He had to act. Captain Cook said, “To strive, to seek, to find, and never to yield.” Or as I would say, decision without action is nothing more than hallucination. Go ahead and take some action.

Action:  Be honest with yourself. Look at some areas of your life where you have decided to change but not much is happening. Perhaps you decided to lose some weight, start exercising, or be more assertive. Pick one such area today and actually COMMIT yourself to doing something.