How to Build Your People System

How to Build Your People System

change vs sustainable change

When it comes to change, we can all admit—it's not easy! All too often we declare we're going to do something differently, yet in a few days or weeks, we're back to our old way. Why?

When we want to create sustainable positive change, it helps to understand our underlying belief system and motivation. There is even more we can do. We can build a system of support and a positive culture to help us stay the course. We call this the "people system."

Positive psychology research shows we don't change by ourselves. We must have people around us noticing and reinforcing our progress.

positive change does not happen alone

A study by Marshall Goldsmith1 looked at leadership development across 8 companies in 8 different industries. A group of leaders at each company worked with a coach and set goals for change. The study found one factor was instrumental to sustaining change. The leaders who shared their goals with their colleagues and engaged them to become part of their development showed significant growth. Those leaders who did not engage colleagues showed marginal to no sustained change.

While it can feel vulnerable to share what you're working on, it is so worthwhile. With support and reinforcement from others, you will have greater motivation to keep working on new behaviors. It becomes a positive cycle of change—the more you share, the more others notice, the more you change.

identifying your people system

When it comes to involving people to support your change, you first have to create the right people system. A few things to ask yourself as you consider your personal and professional network:

  • with whom can you be vulnerable, open, and honest about your goals and struggles?
  • who wants to see you succeed?
  • who serves as a positive role model to you?
  • who will have opportunity to notice your changes when they happen?

Find 3-6 people to invite into your people system to help support you and your goals. Ask them if they are willing to hold your goals in the forefront of their mind and notice when you start showing progress. The goal may be losing weight, eating better or working out more. Or maybe it's a professional goal such as facilitating rather than dominating, or coaching your team members as they figure out answers rather than giving them solutions. Identify behaviors you'd like to adopt and ask your people system to support you by noticing and reinforcing your behavioral shifts. See how this leads to sustained change for you.

If you'd like to learn more about how this concept and others lead to improved employee performance, join us for our next Shift Positive 360® certification for coaches and HRBP's.

By combining positive psychology and social systems, the Shift Positive 360® changes the way people experience behavioral feedback. The Shift Positive 360® is the only 360 method grounded in Positive Psychology concepts & focused on engaging a system of support to create sustainable positive change.

  1. Goldsmith, M., & Morgan, H. (2004). Leadership is a contact sport: The follow-up factor in management development. Strategy + Business, 36, 71 – 79.