Now that I have your attention, I’d like to welcome you to the first article in the Time-to Think series! We are all aware that the modern business world is like a roller coaster ride – full of ups-and-downs, the adrenaline is pumping through our veins, and we are all doing our best to hang on! In this environment, Time-To-Think is one of the most precious resources available to us. If we are not taking Time-To-Think then we are in danger of operating in “headless-chicken” mode. In “headless-chicken” mode we do not take Time-to-Think about creating impactful ideas, and we do not take Time-to-Think about our action plans to ensure that our actions are considered and intelligent.
As a business community we need to learn that fast is not always best! Or, as the proverb puts it: “The early-bird catches the worm, but the second mouse get’s the cheese!” It’s not always best to be fastest to the prize – just ask the mouse that gets caught in the trap while chasing the cheese! We’ve got a world full of people running around and doing in the name of expediency, but this headless-chicken-like activity is tripping us up in the long run. I believe that taking Time-To-Think can help us do it better, smarter and, ultimately, faster the first time.
Today, it’s Time-to-Think about Change!
Please read this article with a curious, open mind. As you read the article – ask yourself two questions….
- What can I learn?
- How can I apply the learning’s back in my world?
Time-to-Think about Change
In the modern-day roller-coaster business environment, learning how to lead and manage change is a key skill for today’s business leaders. Before we discuss the top tips for leading change, let’s first take a look at what change is, and why as humans we generally resist change. These are really important things to understand in the world where change is the new norm.
What is Change?
Change is a process that involves moving from a current state to a future state. This is usually accompanied with a period of transition and human resistance to the change.
Why do we generally resist Change?
Although, we all react to change in slightly different ways, there are some general principles that apply. There are biological reasons and psychological reasons for resisting change on a human level.
When we experience a challenging event (real or perceived) e.g. change, the alarm in our brains called the Amygdala “goes-off”, and sends the body into fight-or-flight mode. The stress hormones (e.g. Cortisol and Adrenaline) increase, our hearts start beating faster, and we are ready to “fight”, or run-away! This process can lead to mental and physical discomfort, which often manifests in survival-oriented behaviours during periods of change e.g. self-absorption, resistance, greed, anger, control etc.
As we know from Maslow’s hierarchy-of-needs, safety or certainty is a fundamental human need. Change challenges our basic psychological need for certainty. Given the fact that we are programmed to avoid pain and move towards pleasure, we tend to avoid change when it is perceived as painful.
The SARAH Model – How we generally react to change
Based on our biology and psychology, we generally react to change in a predictable way that can be summarised in the memorable SARAH acronym: S = Shock, A = Anger, R= Resistance or Rejection, A = Acceptance, H = Hope. The process of moving through the change curve, from Shock to Hope is a very individual journey for each person – mood and performance will dip during this process, returning to it’s original state over-time. Expect this dip, and plan for it. It will happen.
Now that we understand what is going on at a human level during change, this can help us lead organisations and people through change in a more empathetic fashion.
Top Tips for Leading Change
Be Emotionally Intelligent – authentically support people through the change curve. We are all human, and this change response is in us all, including you!
Empower/Coach people to find their own solutions to the challenges that arise during the change journey.
Hold the vision and passion for the desired future state that you are moving towards.
Communicate in ways that are logical, inspirational, human and structured.
Look after the wellbeing of all on the change journey, while remaining focused on delivering on the business objectives.
Stay calm and patient – avoid moving into ‘headless-chicken” mode. Instead make intelligent decisions that are congruent with the change vision.
Use a change management process (e.g Kotter Model) to frame the change journey. Change management works because it brings the certainty of process to the uncertainty of change. Change management increases the probability of success for the change, helps manage the human resistance to change, and builds change capability in the organisation. Please see here for more info: https://www.kotterinternational.com/8-steps-process-for-leading-change/
What key points have you taken away from this article? What did you learn? What will you change as a result? Taking Time-To-Think helps move us from victims of busyness to leaders of change. Please tune in next time for more Time-To-Think discussions. Thank you.