• Chemical Brain Freeze

Change Ahead

Change aheadChange–it has amazing stopping power, doesn’t it? The very mention of change will get people digging their heels in to protect how they currently do business.

When we undergo change there are three basic phases involved. Each one has an effect on our ability to make the change successful.

•    The Current phase is our comfort zone where we perform our day-to-day activities with confidence. We understand the workflow processes, how to multitask and anticipate the pace of the work. Our sense of worth, productivity, value and status are recognized from being competent in our role in this phase.

•    Next is the Action phase where we begin to develop new behaviors, values and attitudes.  We are now being asked and asking employees to look at performing our work differently, which will disrupt the current way of doing things.  We aren’t as sure of the outcomes of our work in the Action phase.

•    Finally we move into the New phase, which is the final stage of crystallizing our thoughts and adaptation of ownership to the new change. The New phase is where we will be working in the future. We have questions as we enter this New phase:

•    Will we be recognized for our contributions?
•    Will we have the ability to provide input and have a share of voice?
•    Will we be able to provide value and be flexible?

Here are four key steps that will help people move through the three key phases of change.

1. Create a clear view – Explain why the change is taking place. Understand where you are going and why it is important for the team to reach the destination. Be able to articulate clearly so members of your team understand the reason for the change.  Also explain the value of their role in this change process.

2. Move Quickly — One of the success strategies for nimbly moving through change is to get to the New phase as quickly as possible. Get started by moving through the Action phase and find a footing in this New phase where you can begin to experiment with new processes. Look at the resources and skills you are bringing with you to assist in this change process. Your problem solving, analytical, and time management skills are all tools that will help with the change. Recognize some things will be ending, some will be continuing and some will be new because of the change. When you can identify those items it takes the fear of the unknown away.

3. Communicate continuously – Don’t assume because you told people once they fully understand the reason and process for change. Communicate consistently and often.  Use different media. Don’t assume an e-mail or website will be read and all questions will be answered. Regularly ask for feedback on what’s working and what’s not working. Ask members of your team to describe back to you the reason for change and why it is important. This will enable you to determine if they understand why the change is taking place. Continue this exercise throughout the phases of change as reinforcement.

4. Recognize early achievements — Try to attain small victories and accomplishments early and celebrate these small wins quickly. Don’t wait for monthly or quarterly reviews. Recognize the accomplishments on a weekly or even daily basis for some milestones. Give credit where credit is due. You build value and show yourself and others they have the ability to act and make progress in the change process.

Change is inevitable but the above steps are some ways to get you and your team through change quickly and effectively.  It takes hard work and consistency but it is worth the effort.  You C.A.N. move through change.

Thanks for coming along.

Signs of Exceptional Leadership

LincolnBIn my book “Nimble – How to Lead Above the Turmoil of Change” I discuss some of the traits of exceptional leaders. Exceptional leaders have the ability to manage relationships and change effectively.




A 2013 Leadership survey reveals that CEO’s get fired for the following reasons:

* 28% had ignored customers
* 27% had tolerated low performers
* 31% had mismanaged change

86% of CEOs who were fired were relieved due to mismanagement of relationships and change.
Excellent leaders understand how to stay in the game during difficulty and stress and be their best when they need to be at peak performance.
It is also interesting to note their tolerance levels of situations and people. During many strategic planning and budget meetings over the years I watched exceptional leaders stay in the game and get their points and perspectives across even during heated discussions. The one consistent area where I saw exceptional leaders get mad was when people disrespected others, whether peers or subordinates. Rude and belittling comments to build one’s self up would always raise the ire of an exceptional leader. They understood that the treatment of people was key in developing the synergy within the organization needed to accomplish the goals most important to growing and strengthening the company.
As we start out 2014, it’s a good time to reflect on the question, “What makes you angry?” once you figure that question out then ask a more compelling question , “Why?”
Thanks for coming along.