Intentional Change Model

When it comes to changing ourselves, meaningful and important changes do happen by chance. Often they are a product of what happens to us and how we deal with situations. However, without a high degree or awareness, we may not notice the changes for a long time or we may perhaps miss an opportunity to direct that change in a way that helps us become better versions of ourselves. If we aren’t aware of changes taking place then they may seem discontinuous or feel like epiphanies. With increased self-awareness or mindfulness, the process can be channeled and seem smoother.

Drawing on decades of research by Richard Boyatzis and Daniel Goleman, we can used a Model of Intentional Change to help people engage in personal transformation successfully, with excitement and enthusiasm. It provides a formula for the individual to move from a New Year’s resolution approach to a long-lasting change in behaviour. The Intentional Change Model occurs by focusing on five major discoveries:

  • Discover 1: The ideal Self – First, for sustainable change you need a vision of where you want to be. What is the Intentional Change Modelideal self?
  • Discovery 2: The real Self – next, there needs to be some honest assessment. Where am I now? What is my real self?
  • The different between the real and ideal self highlights a ‘dis-satisfaction’ between the two and allows for strengths and gaps to be identified. If the real and the ideal are the same there is no incentive to change or develop. If they are too far apart, then some aspects need to be prioritised.
  • Discovery 3: The learning agenda to capitalise on strengths. Boyatzis proposes that 80% of the focus should be on strengths and the ideal. The remaining on weaknesses
  • Discovery 4: Experimenting with and practicing new behaviours, thoughts and feeling to reinforce and affirm strengths and build new habits
  • Discovery 5: Get support – Developing and maintaining close, personal resonant relationships that enable people to move through these discoveries towards renwal.

Boyatzis focuses on the ways in which we can learn new behaviours and attitudes. The first four discoveris. Goleman focuses on the emotional aspect of our interactions with other people. The last discovery. The resonant relationships can come from any source. It could be a line manager, coach, mentor, colleague, friend or a combination.

Additional Reading
MindTools – for online tools and resources for each of the discoveries.
Teleos Leadership Institute – another take on summarising the model.
For a paper by Boyatzis click here.