Make Professional Development Changes Last By Finding Your "Movement"


We here at Cleaver know how hard it can be to create effective change in our lives. We all have things we want to change about ourselves and development goals that we set out for ourselves, but every year we fail to meet our New Year’s resolutions. One of the key elements that can often be overlooked in our failed attempts to create change for ourselves is the power that finding your movement, so to speak, can play in getting change that sticks. A movement is a group of individuals who share a set of values towards a desired goal or goals. Two key aspects of a movement that an individual can benefit from is that a movement has its own force and momentum, which like a river, will pull an individual along with the rest of the group. A community of like-minded individuals has a power that cannot be matched on an individual level.

Cleaver leverages this fact in a variety of ways. When we work with top executives, we aim to impart the value of continued development in the success of business. When these top executives adopt that value as part of their approach within their company, it helps to create a culture of continued development that can spread throughout the entire organization. We also strongly believe in the value of group work, and work with entire teams of people as opposed to individuals whenever possible to leverage the power of the group.

While there are is an extensive list of benefits that finding your movement can have, here are five powerful aids that can be leveraged towards creating lasting change:

Group Habits Like every person, a movement will develop their own set of habits, which can have a positive effect on us if their goals and values are aligned within the group. Attending church on Sundays would be an example of a group habit.

Support When we try to create change, discouragement naturally ensues at some point. Being able to continue pushing forward is essential to create change. When we have a community to reach out to for support, encouragement, others who can relate to our struggle, and others who can provide guidance to advance past setbacks it can help us to stay on course.

Accountability Just as common as discouragement are days when we simply don’t feel we have the energy or motivation to take on the challenges we set for ourselves. Being accountable to others on those days to get off the couch and go to the gym because we know others are expecting us can be the push we need at those times.

Shared Knowledge We all need a certain amount of guidance to create change as well, or else we would’ve already done it. So, whether it’s how to get started or how to tackle certain obstacles, the group can provide insight and motivation.

Belonging This may be the most important of the five. When we belong to a movement, we feel validated in our beliefs, we feel supported, and it taps into an essential human need that we have to feel connected to others.

So, let’s get out there and find our movement. We can’t just read that guide to being a better salesman, we must go out and find others looking to improve in the same way. Let’s go to a conference and network. Whatever our goals are, we need to establish a network around us that can form our personal movement and then follow the river’s flow.

Photo by Ken Douglas courtesy of Flickr