People change, but only if you give them room to do it. Jodi Picoult

In our last two blogs, we spoke about the fact that employees our not stakeholders they are the organization, and how to attract the right people to become part of your living organization.

Before we move onto developing people, I want to tackle a well-accepted myth.

You’ve heard the adage “a leopard doesn’t change its spots; a tiger doesn’t change its stripes”.

For many people this is simply a fact of nature.  A person can no more change who they are than they can change their DNA or physical characteristics.

However, science has proven otherwise.  Dr. Bruce Lipton, and other epigeneticist have shown that gene activity can change daily. You can literally change the fate of your cells by altering your thoughts.

In fact, people can and do change constantly.

Just reflect on your own life.  Are you the same person today than you were 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago?  I know I am not.

I have not only changed many of my behavior patterns I have grown and evolved many of my core beliefs and values.  I have changed my psychic DNA, the underlying context that defines my behaviors.

It is not uncommon for us to view others in light of their past behaviors and lock them in our minds as that is who they are.  This makes it easier for us to form our own behavior patterns for interacting with them, a pattern that will make us feel safe and successful in those interactions.

When we got married, my wife and I promised that we would consistently see each other newly. Every morning we would ask ourselves, who am I, who are you, and who are we today? This created the room for us to change.  We can grow as individuals and as a couple beyond what we ever could have imagined and certainly beyond who we were 20 years ago.

What would it be like to see your staff newly each day? To see them in the evolving process of change.  To watch them grow, change old behaviors, have new ideas, take new risks, and start new journeys.

Ask yourself, what do you believe about a person’s ability to change?

If you view your employees as leopards or tigers that can’t change, STOP. Do not even think about putting any money or effort into developing your people.

If, on the other hand, you truly believe people can change – congratulations.  You are ready to create the room for that change.  You are ready to embark on the powerful journey enabling your employees to grow and develop, which is critical to increasing the capacity of your organization to perform.