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To Shape Or Be shaped?

To Shape Or Be shaped?

All of your behavior has been learned. You have picked up along the way everything you do and the way you do it. What you learned made sense at the time, given all the variables, like existing technology, best practice and what others around you were doing. Because you learned it, you can also relearn something when it no longer works as well or meets the need. And if you won’t assume responsibility to relearn what you once did, others will shape your learning.

So I’m borrowing a Shakespearean phrase in order to get the question right. The right question is this: when something new will be required of you, will you take the initiative to shape your behavior and practices to comply or will you wait until someone else shapes your behavior into what you should be doing anyway?

Consider the expectations that accompany a modification to a system, a software change or a procedural adjustment that your firm’s leaders want to implement. When a new way is initiated, there was considerable research and due diligence conducted, a roll out plan with an explanation, orientation and follow up, and finally, an expectation that you will comply with the new way so that ease, efficiency and quality become standard. In that situation, do you take it on and figure it out? Or do you sit back, complain and hold out?

Those who shun personal initiative essentially are waiting to be shaped. “I’ll do it when I have to” is their motto. They will use an outdated system or procedure until it’s finally turned off or no longer available, then complain that they are unproductive because the new way is too difficult. Then they will use that excuse as justification that the old way was better. Really?

The next time you have to upgrade, adjust or change something, don’t allow your comfort with the old way prevent you from taking the initiative to shape yourself to the new way. Assume the responsibility for your own behavior and become the master of your own destiny, not someone else’s.

Written by Guy Gage

Guy Gage is the owner of the PartnersCoach, a coaching and consulting firm to professionals in private practice. Holding a license in counseling and a certificate in human performance improvement, he has consulted with and coached professionals for almost 20 years, guiding them to increase their effectiveness and career satisfaction. Website: http://www.partnerscoach.com