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The resistance to change is a very human struggle we contend with from childhood to adulthood. My experiences, alone, are evidence enough.
There was a time I used to refuse to do my homework on time. I remember my dad asking me whether I’d completed my schoolwork by lunchtime on Saturday, and me, having some smart-alec answer for him.
Naturally, there were obvious benefits to completing my homework early on in the weekend. I had the rest of the weekend in front of me, I was better prepared for school on Monday, and, of course, the homework itself was easier because my lessons were fresh in my mind.
Despite knowing these, I resisted doing my work early on in the weekend and always scrambled at the last minute—quite sullenly, might I add—to get my work done.
I’ve changed in many ways as an adult but still struggle with this resistance to change. I know my teams struggle with it too because again, we’re human.
That being said, making excuses is never the way to go. We need to be held accountable when we mess up and when we need to change how we do things—this is something I don’t budge on.
When I come head to head with this resistance within my teams, one thing that helps me is asking myself what I am doing to cause it. Only then do I ask my colleagues how their actions (or lack thereof) affect the people around them.
This can be quite sobering. It helps me take accountability as a leader and only then, ensure that my teams do the same. This is so important to “walking the talk”, as Michael often talks about.
This kind of “200% accountability”—100% on my end and 100% on my team’s end—helps us see that we don’t exist in a silo. Growth is never comfortable, but it’s always necessary.
Today, the resistance to change is not just a human problem, but a business one. If you and your teams are resisting broad strokes or subtle shifts of change, this can have a major impact on your bottom line.
You can overcome this with greater accountability.
Why accountability needs to be one of your most prized business values
Accountability helps companies ensure that each cog in the machine is working and takes responsibility for their work.
If there’s no accountability, there’s often very little impetus to change. Your teams will experience an overwhelming resistance to change when there aren’t any processes in place to help them see the outcome of their efforts and analyse any successes or failures that come their way.
Accountability often has a messy and negative connotation; the assignment of blame and the pointing of fingers.
By framing the accountability conversation the right way, you make this a meaningful and engaging part of work-life. As Michael says, only a mindful leader will take 100% accountability for their actions and responses while holding their team 100% accountable for theirs.
If you show your teams that this is a necessary, and natural, part of your work, it’s much easier to create a more accountable workforce. It also really adds to your value and impact as a leader.
Why the resistance to change is so painful (personally and financially)
To me, resistance to change means that you don’t care enough about how your actions affect the people around you.
Professionally, this attitude and behaviour can affect how teams work and how well a business executes its objectives and vision. Personally, it can damage relationships—even irrevocably—and lead you down a path of self-destruction. As dramatic as that sounds.
Something I’ve realised during my time at the helm of Awakened Mind is that falling behind change can have a communitarian effect; just one person with this mindset is dangerous. These people can, sometimes, inspire apathy in other people and hold them back from their own potential.
If you manage your own teams and have noticed trends like this, putting a firm stop to it is important. That being said, don’t take an iron fist to it—you need to be wise with the way you hold yourself accountable. Your employees need to buy into this process.
Accountability and personal transformation with mindfulness
At the risk of sounding biased, mindfulness is one of the most powerful personal development tools I’ve come across because self-awareness sits at the heart of it.
With mindfulness, you’re able to step back from the sense of failure and disappointment that comes with a mistake or error, and instead of feeling waves of guilt, identify what you can do to prevent the same in the future.
You can identify what needs to change, within, for positive transformation that benefits your personal and professional life. Accountability, when tied with self-awareness, help us achieve self-regulated growth. This is where we look inside, identify what needs to change, and take active steps to become better leaders.
Mindfulness sits at the heart of this.
Overcome the resistance to change with accountability and help your teams thrive
Business success means many different things. One of the most important, though, is how healthy your team members are and how well they’re working together.
As Michael always says, 200% accountability is the cornerstone of a growth mindset and is also how leaders create high performing teams and organisations.
Accountability is a quality that will serve your teams well and will facilitate personal development that adds value to how things work in your company.