Buying a particular diet book will not ensure we will lose weight, just as attending an assertiveness course will not make us assertive. Knowledge of theories and models is only a part of the equation. The crucial element is a genuine commitment to change. This is the essential difference between just " knowing " and actually " owning ".

We can learn about assertiveness without becoming assertive, just as we can learn about dieting without losing weight. Consciously, or unconsciously, we need to own the change if our behaviour, or our physique, is to alter.

The assertiveness course will only work if we also commit ourselves to the changes in behaviour it indicates. Dieting will only work if it is implemented amongst other changes in lifestyle which will support it. Too many times we miss out this critical stage in the change process - taking commitment for granted, or by being less than honest with ourselves.

We are seldom in a position to guarantee that we will develop or adapt to a particular timetable, but as a minimum we should undertake to be open to the influence for change. Without this open-mindedness the rest of the process will not work.

Our personal commitment, or motivation is unique to ourselves. How or why we grow commitment to a particular action is impossible to predict. We might find our impetus inside ourselves - or it may come from a desire to do our best for family or friends. Some people do actually run into burning buildings. Some are wearing uniforms and their motivation might be professionalism, others are not wearing uniforms - what could theirs be ? Love, heroism, altruism ?

The point is that we must each explore our ownership, to answer the question What's in it for me ? If we cannot answer positively, then it is highly unlikely we will make a success of the change we are contemplating. The organisational imperative is to allow the individual time and space to make that exploration, and to provide honest and open support so that the process is as valuable as possible.

Ownership is the precursor to action. Once we are committed, it is time to DO something, but what ?