We live in a world where the need to be flexible in your approach is vital. Everything is subject to change, minute-by-minute, day-by-day. Deals come in; deals are lost. New recruitment software replaces last month’s new software. The candidate who was 100% committed didn’t even turn up on the first day.
In this world of constant change, one thing remains adaptable – us. In the recruitment industry, it appears that one of the most important skills to possess is the skill of adaptability. Dealing with unexpected events. Thriving. Being innovative and spotting the opportunities in each curve ball that comes our way.
So, can people change? It sounds silly really – of course they can! But, there is one catch. Ready for it?
They have to want to.
Let me rephrase that…They have to commit to. For two reasons:
1. Without commitment, change will be short lived.
Being committed to something is a completely different level of wanting something.
If I asked the question: Do you want to have lots of money? How many people do you think would respond with a (duh-style) “yes”?
On the other hand, suppose I asked this question: Do you commit to having lots of money? Do you devote everything you are to being the most valuable version of you that you can possibly be?
There might be one person at the back of the room who will be shouting “hell yeah!” The next thing you will hear will be the revs of their engine as they leave in their Range Rover Evoque. Where will they be going? They will be going to make lots of money (not standing around talking about it.) They will have lots of money. They will be living that commitment through their actions every day.
More importantly, they will have developed habits that earn them the most they could earn and habits that make sure they don’t spend their money on the wrong things. They will be committed to doing whatever it is they do to earn the most they can earn while the rest of us are having a beer on a Friday night. Or taking a one-hour lunch. Or choosing a lie in over getting up-and-at-em earlier than the early bird. They will also be the ones sacrificing that impulse buy ‘must have Michael Kors purse to match the shoes’ because they know they are saving for something bigger and better.
Habits are funny things. I’m hitting 30 next year (25th August if anyone wants to congratulate me for making it that far) and I’ve developed lots of them. Thankfully, I’ve also changed lots of them.
So why do people have to want to change in order to change? Because you can only commit if you truly want to…and know how. This leads me on nicely to the second reason change is only really practical with commitment.
2. Change can be painful.
Change can be painful for the ego. You know the one. The ego we spend years in recruitment building up? The one that allows you to puff out your chest just that little bit more when you are credible in your sell. The one that tells you that you should know it all by now (and if you don’t…nod politely and agree ’till they’ve gone away. Then Google it.)
Knowing how to change is often a different battle in itself.
Knowing how to change takes humility. It shows vulnerability in a person that is admirable. I look back at my younger self and wonder how on earth I transformed from a 17-year-old eager, fresh-faced college student holding down three jobs, to understanding what it takes to succeed in the corporate world. (By the way: my mum was an auditor in a chocolate factory and my Dad worked on the docks right by Scantec’s offices just over the water from Liverpool. As much as I admire my parents, my corporate skills certainly weren’t inherited from them).
So how exactly did I change? How did I learn? I committed to finding out how.
True, you could read books, articles or even take a degree. However, the type of learning you need when you really want to know how to change is practical, in-the-moment small changes that you can make that develop into great habits.
At 18, I joined a global corporate company. I spotted my target. And took heed.
She wore expensive looking suits. I upgraded my ‘black pants, vest tops and ballet pumps’ to a shift dress, blazer and court shoes.
She shook people’s hands at the beginning of meetings. I began to.
She was always seen taking books from the company library. I was checking which books she was reading from the company library and getting them after her…fear not, I have limits. I didn’t copy everything she did. I’m not a stalker. I just committed to learning how in the most efficient way I could find.
The ultimate message here is: when acquiring the ‘how’ to change keep your eyes on the really practical stuff. The things you can do to change whatever it is you want to change with baby steps, small actions that you can develop into habits.
So I guess my answer is yes, people can change but only if they commit to.
By the way, I saw that lady at the traffic lights the other day…in her Range Rover Evoque.