In November 2018, the Demos-PwC Good Growth for Cities Index was published and, with 10 years of data, was able to show the relative state of 42 cities across the United Kingdom. And in 2018, Preston was the city with the biggest improvement.
A more detailed look at Preston shows a number of factors played a part. Preston was struggling badly after the economic crash of 2007 and with no plans, something had to change. There was real leadership, plans were drawn up, decisions were made, and action happened. There was external support, motivating and encouraging the local leaders. And finally, in addition to support, the local authority invested in external support, bringing in new knowledge and evidence-based practice. The results now speak for themselves, and it’s always rewarding when any hard work is externally and independently acknowledged.
This is an excellent example of the Satir Change Model in action. It is also an excellent example of personal change. There is first the recognition that the current model of the world is no longer viable or wanted. Secondly, for there to be change, we have to make plans and implement them. Without action, nothing changes. Getting external support is always good; it provides motivation and is a useful check on progress. And finally, being resourceful is about knowing where to get help and support, and modelling excellence is always a good way forward. The motto, then, is simple. Be like Preston. Because you know you can change, don’t you?
The end of 2018 is fast approaching, and I find myself wondering how many people made New Year’s resolutions at the start of the year, and how many have actually achieved their goals. A very quick trawl of the Internet would suggest that about half of us make resolutions and by February most resolutions have been abandoned. Which, frankly, is not a great success rate.
In many ways it’s easy to have great resolutions. A shiny list of all the good that we plan for the year ahead. We’re then hit by the reality of life, the barriers and obstacles, the self-doubt, the lack of instant success, the defeatism… the list goes on… and on. And another great idea is set adrift to that place where all broken ideas end up, a place called “Some Day Isle”.
What, then, can you do differently? Make sure you aim for something positive, really positive. Negative goals, what you don’t want, will get you moving and this will not last, so aim for what you want. Make sure you can see yourself doing the goal, whatever the goal is. You want a picture with you in it doing what you want to achieve. And really describe the picture; what you’re doing, what you see, what you hear, what you feel. And while you’re at it, include what you taste and smell. Make the picture as real as possible. Set a first step. Set a hugely detailed first step, with exactly what you will do, what you will achieve and when you will do it. And then make sure you do it.
Of course, all of this is great. The only way, though, to achieve success is to make it happen and take action. So take action. If what you do turns out differently from what you wanted, stop and take stock. Learn from what you did. Make changes. And take action again. You know that you can get there. And just imagine how good it feels to reach your goals. Because life is amazing when you’re exactly who you want to be, isn’t it?