Last month, I started a series of themes of the week based on a book I had been reading at the time by John Maxwell and Rob Hoskins called, Change Your World. I cannot say this too many times, “YOU MUST GET THIS BOOK!” You will be so glad you did.
This week we talk about Chapter 6 – “Transformation Begins One Table at a Time.” This chapter is about an interesting concept called Transformation Tables that Maxwell and Hoskins have used with over a million people all around the world!
The concept is based on the power of sitting at a table with others. Think about how impactful and important sitting around tables has been for generations of people, whether it be families sitting at the dinner table, friends out at restaurants enjoying meals and conversation together, or companies meeting around conference tables to figure out their next moves to improve what they are doing.
This is exactly what Maxwell and Hoskins talk about in this chapter. And while some would consider the idea of transformation tables as being metaphorical, they are also talking about people literally sitting around tables coming up with the best plans and practices to grow and develop to become what they want to become.
The majority of the chapter was broken up into the following six sections:
Transformation Tables Start Small
Maxwell says, “Big things come from small beginnings. A movement can begin with a single person: you. One of the fantastic things about transformation tables is that anyone, anywhere can start using them to create transformation.…You just need to be able to answer two questions: Do you think your community will improve if you improve yourself? Do you think other want to improve their lives?”
Transformation Tables Provide Common Ground for People
According to Maxwell & Hoskins, “Everything good in human interaction starts with common ground. It’s where connections are made, relationships built, trust is formed around shared values, and progress begins. Transformation tables provide the fertile soil where growth happens because they offer a place and time for people to gather for a common purpose.”
They pointed out several benefits of being at the table together:
Proximity—Transformation is personal. It requires the investment of one person into another. The most effective facilitators of transformation tables are open, authentic, and vulnerable.
Environment—Motivation is overrated; environment matters more. We become like the people we spend our time with. While Maxwell did not offer a great Jim Rohn quote in support of this concept, I will: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Repetition—Change is never instantaneous. It takes time and it takes repetition…. Habits are based on frequency, not time. Maxwell quotes James Clear from his outstanding book, Atomic Habits: “One of the most common questions I hear is, ‘How long does it take to build a habit?’ But what people should be asking is, ‘How many does it take to form a new habit?’ That is, how many repetitions are required to make a habit automatic?”
Transformation Tables Re-Form and Reinforce People’s Identities
They pick up this section with James Clear in Atomic Habits again: “Your identity emerges out of your habits. You are not born with preset beliefs. Every belief, including those about yourself, is learned and conditioned through experience. More precisely, your habits are how you embody your identity…. The more you repeat a behavior, the more you reinforce the identity associated with that behavior.”
Clear goes on to say that the best way of achieving change is to do it from the inside out, whereas most people attempt it from the outside in. They emphasize outcomes, which are external, or they focus on processes, which are the next layer deep. Instead, they should focus on changing identity first. “Many people begin the process of changing their habits by focusing on what they want to achieve. This leads to outcome-based habits. The alternative is to build identity-based habits. With this approach, we start by focusing on who we wish to become… Progress requires unlearning. Becoming the best version of yourself requires you to continuously edit your beliefs, and to upgrade and expand your identity.”
Transformation Tables Connect Awareness to Application for People
Maxwell says this is a key to making transformation tables work. “Everyone is asked to contribute at the table. Why? If you’ve ever tried to lead a team or work with a group where one of the team members refused to talk or engage, then you know how frustrating that can be. Disengaged people rarely grow or stimulate growth in others around them. But when people are open and engaged, incredible things can happen…. In this way, everyone holds one another accountable. It is through these intentional actions that change becomes permanent. Repeated application by each person compounds their improvement.”
Transformation Tables Give People a Way to Track Transformation
Talking about his leadership and personal growth journey, Maxwell said, “Instead of asking, ‘How much longer will this take?’ I started asking myself, ‘How much farther can I go?’ I was no longer focused on reaching a destination. I was focused on developing my potential—an ongoing journey with no end in sight.” This idea led to his statement on the “Law of Process” in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – “Leaders develop daily, not in a day.”
As people engage at transformation tables, there are two important things to keep in mind for tracking progress: Consistency – Work at it every day or every week.
Ask Yourself – “Does this value help me become the person I want to be? Does this behavior work for or against my desired identity?” Values that conflict with a desired identity are not helpful. The values people learn and live must help them grow toward becoming the best individuals they can be.
When you track your progress, it’s easier to see your progress. It’s a fact that people who track their progress are more successful than those who don’t.
Transformation Tables Help People Do Life Better Together
Maxwell and Hoskins say, “People who learn good values at transformation tables become the kind of people who care, who will help, and who can be trusted.”
They then wrap up this section by providing the following concepts in a list that gets at the heart of what Transformation Tables do when you work at them:
“At transformation tables, people who desire to improve their lives gather and
New relationships are formed,
Beliefs are discovered,
Perspective is shared,
Discussions give help,
Questions are asked,
Answers are found,
Trust is given,
Vulnerability is appreciated,
Values are practiced,
Good habits are formed,
Self-worth is increased,
Forgiveness is experienced,
Attitudes are positive,
Responsibility is accepted,
Priorities are identified,
Broken relationships are restored,
Servanthood is lived,
Generosity is shown,
Courage is activated,
Commitments are made,
Initiative is encouraged,
Integrity is valued, and
Lives are changed!
They finish the chapter by asking if you are ready to sit at a transformation table, look at yourself, admit where you need to grow, and work on it, and if you’re willing to invite others to the table so they can join you in this growth journey?
They say, “If you’re ready, step into the process.”
They tell you to go to ChangeYourWorld.com for more materials and information on transformation tables. Click on that link to be taken to a landing page that offers you some different options to get started leading your own transformation tables. I highly recommend you check it out.
If you decide to start down this path, I would love to hear your story on how it worked for you. I imagine Maxwell and Hoskins would, too. After all, with over 1 million people already impacted by these transformation tables, they would love to hear about even more people who have been impacted by them, too.
Next week, we move to a concept that they touched on above when they talked about tracking your progress. Chapter 7 is titled, “What Gets Done Gets Measured.” That will be a very important chapter for us leaders, and especially us coaches.