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Starting Fresh Isn't A Solo Activity

(September 19, 2023 Newsletter)

The challenge: One of the biggest barriers to implementing change I see among my clients is thinking they can make progress without letting others know that they’re making a behavioral shift.

In the real world: “It felt weird” is often a response I hear when clients report back asking questions for the first time instead of giving directives to their team members.

“Did you tell them to expect something different? That you’re trying out something new?”

“No… I just hoped they’d notice.”

Imagine it from the team member’s perspective. Every week they sit down in their boss’ office (or hop on their recurring Zoom meeting) and start to run down their list of roadblocks. One by one, the manager suggests what they can do to fix them, and the meeting ends. Suddenly, their boss is asking for their opinion on what to do? How could they NOT be confused?

So yes, it is possible to start fresh, but it’s a lot less likely to stick if you don’t seek cooperation, support, or input in the process.

What could that look like?

  1. Decide who needs to know – depending on the goal you’re working towards, it likely affects different people, perhaps your own boss, your team, or your colleagues.

  2. Bring them in and explain what you’re hoping to achieve. You may or may not want their input, but you likely have a request from them – to let you know when they’re observing progress? When you fall back into the old habit?

  3. Have a periodic check-in. If you’re not planning on talking about it regularly with them, set yourself a reminder for a 1:1 scheduled in a month or two to review your progress.

  4. Encourage them to set a goal too. You can offer to be someone’s accountability buddy – perhaps the fact that you’ve chosen something and are working toward it will inspire them to do the same.

In Angela Duckworth’s most recent newsletter, she explained that her understanding of “grit” has evolved over time in the following way:

Gritty people are more dependent on other people, not less. They rely more on their coaches, mentors, and teachers. They are more likely to ask for help. They are more likely to ask for feedback. Grit sounds like being a strong individual who figures things out all by themselves. But gritty people try to find other people to make everything they’re striving to accomplish easier. It’s very much about developing relationships, being vulnerable, saying what you can’t do, and then, with the support of other people, figuring out how to do it.

In the beginning of Jewish New Year, wishing you a year of fresh starts, with the support of friends and colleagues. May it be a year of learning to pull back the curtain on your own personal growth so that you can succeed and inspire others to follow suit.


The Coaching Corner

Create a culture of learning and improvement

If you want to encourage your team members to grow, here are three targeted questions you can use in 1:1 or team meetings:

  • What do you want to learn in the coming year?

  • What have you learned recently that would be valuable to the rest of the team?

  • What have you done well recently but still think you could do better? What would you want to do differently?



  • How to handle challenging conversations. Three simple tools for coming into courageous conversations, including giving feedback that may be hard for the other person to swallow.

  • For anyone who's ever received feedback that your communication style is too direct, listen in on this coaching conversation with the masterful Muriel Wilkins on "Coaching Real Leaders".


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