Change Management with Ghosts

I am not crazy (HONEST), but I challenge you to try this simple technique to kick-starting a change that you want or need to make. All you need is an open mind, some quiet time and some imagination.

What the 'Dickens'?

Most of us are familiar with the classic Dickens novel, A Christmas Carol. You know the story where Ebenezer Scrooge was visited by three ghosts – Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future. If you recall, the ghosts showed Scrooge images of Christmas’s past, present and the future. This provided him with so much pain that it was the catalyst for him to make better choices and to change his life and the lives of others.

This story has long been used by change consultants to help managers, business owners and teams to make changes at work. It involves a little imagination and visualisation, but it really works. I invite you to take five minutes to try out the Dickens Pattern.

The Dickens Pattern

1) Identify Changes

First of all, identify something you would like to change. It might be something at work (e.g. a process or a problem); it might be a personal habit or a behaviour that you no longer want to have (e.g. not giving someone your full attention when they are speaking to you).

2) Take a Deep Breath

Take three deep, calming breaths and each time you exhale, EXPERIENCE a sense of RELAXATION.

3) What IF I Do Nothing?

In your mind’s eye (or on paper if you prefer), make a note of all of the consequences of staying the way you are and NOT making the change you need or want to make.

4) See, Feel & Experience the PAIN

Keep on thinking about those consequences over and over again and now jump forward 1 year. Now imagine the consequences of not making that change – how much worse has the problem or PAIN become?

See the PAIN. Feel the PAIN. Experience the PAIN.

5) Visualise the Consequences

Now jump forward 5, 10 or even 15 years and imagine or VISUALISE THE CONSEQUENCES of NOT making that change – how much worse has the problem or PAIN become? What opportunities have you missed out on? What has it cost you? Who are the people you have hurt or harmed by not changing?

See the PAIN. Feel the PAIN. Experience the PAIN.

What regrets do you have? What do people say about you and more importantly what do you think about yourself?

6) Consider These Two Questions

Now, imagine it was all a bad dream. In your mind, jump back to the present. Think about these two questions:

  • What did not taking action cost you personally and professionally in the future?
  • What have you and the people around you missed out on?

7) Make the Changes

Now VISUALISE MAKING THE CHANGES you need to make. In your mind’s eye (or on paper if you prefer), make a note of all of the changes and actions you can take to change your situation. It doesn't matter how BIG or small the actions or how trivial or complex they might be, just capture them. Imagine or 'get a sense' of how GREAT IT FEELS having implemented the actions and changes. Associate these feelings with the MASSIVE PLEASURE you now have because you implemented the actions and changes. Now visualise the results and success that you are experiencing and decide – I WILL FOLLOW THROUGH ON THESE CHANGES!

Change Management

This technique takes a little practice, but it works. If you get complacent or need to reconnect with your thoughts and feelings, then simply repeat it. Each time you repeat it, your visualisation, feelings and experience will become STRONGER and STRONGER.

I challenge you to give yourself an early Christmas present!

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About the Author

John Moore has over 20 years experience of training and developing Managers, Coaches, Consultants and businesses. As Managing Director of Exponential Training, John researches, speaks, blogs and writes about how to improve performance. He also designs and delivers engaging, fun and interactive learning programmes. John is a Fellow Chartered Manager and has worked with managers and organisations in over 20 different countries.

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