Desperate times call for desparate measures.
Our son is getting married in less than two weeks, yet Christy and I are still hovering around the weight we were when Britton asked Tyler to marry him on July 3.
The reason is simple . . . we have given up.
Our youngest son, Jack, recently asked us what the best thing is about being married at this point in our life.
Christy pondered a moment and said,”It’s kinda like an old sweatshirt—soft, comfortable, and yummy.”
In the early stages of a new relationship himself, Jack walked away utterly disappointed.
Soft, comfortable, yummy. That pretty much describes our pursuits these days.
SOFT. The last time I broke a good sweat was when the Alabama placekicker lined up for a game-tying fieldgoal in the Iron Bowl. He missed. I ate more potato chips.
COMFORTABLE. My mower is self-propelled. I blow the leaves instead of raking them. We Rumba rather than sweep. I am seriously considering tennis shoes with velcro instead of laces. My only ab workout is getting out of bed each morning and even that is becoming a struggle.
YUMMY. When the kids left the house, so did any need or desire to eat vegetables. Our “greens” are Whit's mint chocolate chip frozen custard and guacamole.
To compound matters, I am twice the age of all the groomsmen, yet still have to conform to the fashions of today.
Translation: Strapping young men with metabolisms and muscles look good in fitted, tailored suits.
Up in front of God and everybody, I will look like the humans at the end of Wall-E.
For our birthdays in October and November, Christy and I gave each other the gift of Spanx. And since Christmas is three days before the wedding, we can add to our collection if we are still spilling out. A whole new meaning to stocking stuffers!
Three weeks ago, Christy’s doctor suggested she undergo a routine colonoscopy.
This was no suggestion to Christy. It was a Christmas miracle.
I have never witnessed someone approach the prep for a colonoscopy like Christy did. Dare I say she was giddy? During the prep, she worked on wedding stuff and watched a Hallmark movie—though we did have to pause it a few times.
She did so well and seemed to actully enjoy the process so much that I got a bit envious. So naturally, when she had a little bit of her prep drink left over, I thought I would partake—maybe I could drop a few pounds myself.
All it did was make me nervous about going out in public.
You might find this an odd story to introduce a leadership principle. Let me tie it together.
If I asked you to pick the most effective way to change a behavior, which answer would you select from the list below:
- Make a goal.
- Join a group of like-minded people.
- Increase your willpower—commit to the change!
- Make the new behavior part of your identity.
- Schedule a colonoscopy.
Although (5) might be an excellent short-term weight loss regimen, for a more sustainable approach to change behavior, the correct answer is (4).
Leaders, if you want to affect behavioral change in people, you must create a new identify for them. Here’s how.
As an example, if you want your company identified with excellent customer service, then you should start with these three rules:
(1) WHO — Determine your new identity. Define how you want your clients/customers to describe you to other people.
KEY ACTION: When our customers think of our company, we want them to say we are empathetic; we anticipate their needs; and we solve their problems.
(2) WHAT — Define, in concrete terms, how customers will know that they experienced empathy, their needs met, or their problem solved.
KEY ACTION: Attach the desired action to (1) a core value (2) a data point like a survey, or (3) an objective performance measure like a goal.
(3) HOW — Determine a baseline for empathy, anticipating needs, or problem solving, then track progress.
KEY ACTION: Leaders must establish, communicate, model, and manage towards the HOW or it will never stick.
Leaders, remember this simple fact. An identity will define your company. The question is, will you be the one that determines it?
On the way home from the colonoscopy, Christy suggested we stop at Chic-Fil-A. I reminded her that this colonoscopy was a great way to propel us into a new IDENTITY—we aren’t middle-aged empty nesters who have given up! We are energetic, active parents embracing a new phase of our life!
Christy looked at me and said, “Make sure they supersize our fries.”
Wonder if we can wear a sweatshirt to the wedding?
Want to change the behaviors of your organization? Let me help you find your identity! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.