Death and Taxes.
They used to be the only two certainties in life.
I think it’s time we acknowledged the third certainty.
Let’s face it, with developments in medicine and our increasing understanding of the human body, we’re pushing death back year after year… and as for taxes… well they’re more certain for some than for others.
Change is upon us all of us and it’s high time we acknowledged the idea of managing it is dead in the water.
This week I had the privilege of working with the one of our clients and their leadership team. This business is on the cusp of some very exciting growth and expansion ventures. The owner asked me to facilitate a session with the leadership team to ensure the team’s readiness for the next phase of the business.
Today’s blog covers some the areas we focused on which I believe would benefit all businesses going through change (otherwise known as EVERY BUSINESS).
The rate of change in the modern economy is exponential. At the workshop, I reminded everyone that in my lifetime the watch I wear on my left wrist has more power than the buildings full of computers that existed earlier in my life. In 1919 (just over 100 years ago), the first transatlantic flight took place. As I write, the technology to build floating, superheavy-class spaceports for Mars, moon & hypersonic travel around world is well in play.
As leaders we must embrace a culture of change. Continuous change or change readiness reflects our understanding and acceptance that change is the new norm, not the exception. In fact, in order to succeed in the new economy we MUST change. A culture that embraces and thrives on change is the culture which succeeds in the modern economy.
Whilst it’s all well and good to say ‘everyone must embrace change!’, as leaders we MUST be aware that for the vast majority of people within our business, the mere thought of change could quite literally make them feel physically sick!
DISC is a great tool which helps us all to understand why I behave and communicate the way I do, why others behave and communicate differently to me and because I want to get the best out of my relationships with those others, what I need to do to adapt my preferred behavioural and communication.
14% of the population lay awake at night excited about all the change that is ahead of them.
86% of population though lay awake at night, working out how they can stop it.
Most employees in our business will NOT change unless we help them see there is a real benefit to all the stakeholders of the business: including the whole team and all the clients.
However, this does not mean you simply tell them the benefit and they’ll get on with changing. Everyone MUST be actively involved in processes so they are able to see the benefits for themselves.
About 25% of this 86% will also need LOTS – and I mean LOTS – of detail about what is about to happen. For leaders who LOOOVE change, determining and communicating these benefits and details doesn’t come naturally to them and so it is necessary for us, to assist a culture which embraces and thrives on change that we adapt ourselves to how the majority react.
As always in our workshops, we focus on experiential learning.
Initially, I had the team focus on 3 changes they had made in their life and how they felt/thought about those changes at the time. Interestingly, a lot of their answers focussed on the positive impacts that these changes had made to their life. (Incidentally, most the participants in the room are in the 14% who love change.)
In the next activity, half-way through, I gave a subtle new instruction in that activity. Well, you should have heard the moans, groans, expletives, and “this is difficult” statements from everyone – and I mean everyone – in the room.
The same group who had been so proudly spruiking their excitement about change were forced to recognise their own subconscious reactions to even the simplest of changes.
Consciously we may think we’re on board, but we MUST be aware of our inbuilt conditioning to change, own it and work on it.
Each of us bring to a situation our own conditioning. Therefore, we see things from our own perspective. Our perspective may be we’re excited about change, or have a number of ideas about the change or it may even be we’re fearful of change. No one person’s perspective is right or wrong. Everybody’s perspective is right for them, right now.
In fact, a simple exercise we did reminded us that several different perspectives were absolutely necessary for us to see the whole picture. When we only look at something from one dimension, we find there’s usually a whole lot of information was missing.
As leaders, in order to build a culture which embraces and thrives on change, we MUST view change from a multitude of perspectives, not just our own.
In a recent blog, I wrote about a teenage memory, of walking into someone’s home and seeing a painting that depicted a very stormy sea. In the midst of the sea was a lighthouse buoy. In the painting several people were obviously drowning and others were clinging to buoy for grim death. There was one person, though who was holding onto the buoy with one hand and with the other, reaching out to a nearby person to save them from drowning.
This painting deeply impacted me and still does as I recall it.
As leaders we are being called, sometimes through very rough and turbulent seas, to be that person, reaching out to others.
Indeed, we may have our own fears and insecurities about a change. To be able to be that person secure enough to support others though, we MUST own those fears and insecurities and then act despite those fears and insecurities, as the light to those around us.
In the 1960s David Cleicher and Arthur D Little developed a formula for change. In the 1980s Kathie Dannemiller refined it more. I too have added in another step.
The formula is…
D x V + AP + FS > R
For deep and lasting change to occur having this formula in mind enables us in our quest.
D – Dissatisfaction
V – Vision
AP – Action Plan
FS – First Steps
R – Resistance
So, using this formula, for change to occur…
Our Dissatisfaction with the current situation x Our Vision for the future position + Action Plan + First Steps (putting that action plan into play) has to be greater than the Resistance.
You may recall from your school days that the multiplication symbol has great “power” than the plus sign. Therefore, the 2 most important aspects are knowing all the things that dissatisfy us as well as our vision for the future position.
Sometimes our dissatisfaction comes from external events and sometimes they come from our own internal growth. Remember the Quote: “If an egg is broken by an outside force, life ends. If broken by an inside force, life begins. Great things always begin from the inside.”
Even for those of us who love change, we still have some resistances and fears.
This formula reminds us we must own all of those and most importantly we must build up our dissatisfaction and vision. Then we MUST put in place an action plan and then put that plan into play. When we do all of those, our resistances will disappear. If it doesn’t then we haven’t done enough work yet. So keep on keeping on until the resistance melts away.
As leaders in a world of change we MUST be able to have our team come to the conclusion that if they don’t change, then they won’t be able to achieve the best possible results for themselves, their clients or for you as the owner of the business.
How do we do this?
Firstly, we need to be very clear on what exactly is the outcome a change gives us. The clearer we are on this the more chance we have of achieving.
Secondly, we must be able to clearly articulate the purpose of the change. What benefits does it bring? What will it give each and every stakeholder?
Thirdly, we need to be able to clearly define all the details of the change. What will need to change?
Lastly, the people. What is the impact on all the people? What employees will need to change they way they do things or actively participate the change?
In today’s world, change is the new certainty. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s taught us that. Change is no longer the exception – it is, most definitely, the rule.
If you’d like to find out how we could work with you and your team to create a culture which thrives on change rather than resists it, reach out. We’re here to help you create the business and lifestyle you deserve for you and your family.
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