Written by Roxanne Brown
In January 2020, I chose a word for the year: Freedom. That choice was about freedom from self-doubt, freedom from the noise in my head and the freedom to choose from more options resulting from the first two. When I think back on that now, I can hear the wish to go back in time. I also think, “how quaint.”
About ten years ago, I experienced freedom from the constant, internal dialogue. I had some life-changing experiences that caused me to question everything I thought I knew about myself and the world. My reaction was to just sit with what was happening and try to learn from it. I adopted a “follow-your-nose” philosophy, which translated meant I was letting the universe speak to me and then responding with what seemed to make sense at the time. I was certainly intentional about the life I wanted to live, but my previous “force-of-will” approach to make my carefully chosen goals happen was no longer my mode of...
Written by Roxanne Brown
Originally published 6/20/17.
When I first met you my life at work was in turmoil. At the office, people who were standing just feet apart wouldn’t acknowledge each other. It was as if they didn’t know how so they filtered each other out. Everyone decided to keep to their friends now that the company had decided to purchase a longtime competitor.
There were new people in the office and they were the enemy. They were our competition that for years we battled against for clients, industry awards and big business. We knew them by name and by sight and now they were in our office. They were supposed to be one of us now. How strange it all felt. The new people acted like they were in a foreign land, looking stunned, trying to adjust. It was beyond awkward. I retreated to my office to escape the pressure of those interactions. The rooms and hallways were packed with emotion pressing everything downward. Lots...
You can use fear to make people change. It is a legitimate change tactic. But what happens is people freeze in place and only do what you tell them to do. They keep their heads down and keep to themselves. From time to time they’ll pop their heads up to look around to see if anything has changed. Then they go back to being heads-down. They’re frozen in place waiting for the next direction. It’s the safest thing to do.
Another tactic is attraction, attracting people to the vision of a new world you imagine. When you communicate your vision you help people see their place in this world and how they can bring their unique talents to make it happen. You inspire their action to your vision.
The effort you exert using fear versus attraction is different. The amount of effort may be the same but the nature of your effort is very different. Fear gets you speed but you will always be the person people come to for all the answers. Attraction requires patience and trust in the...
Before change can happen the leader must change first. This seems pretty straightforward but applying it can be challenging!
When change is introduced, people notice how the leader is modeling the change they want to see in others – or not.
If you think you’re fine, it’s just that everyone else needs to change, that might be a problem. It’s a good idea to ask yourself from time to time…
Even a subtle shift on your part could have a huge influence on others.
When someone leaves the company, it’s not just about that person. It’s about that person and all of the people that are impacted by their departure.
Even if the person’s departure is a relief, it’s still a loss. Even if a person’s departure isn’t voluntary, there’s at least a small amount of envy felt by others.
We often talk about the people that remain with the company as the people left behind, which is a way to put it that sounds a little strange. We say that because it can feel that way to the people that remain.
Naturally, people feel relief because it’s not them leaving. It’s a lot of work to leave a job and find/transition to another. It’s stressful. But there’s also excitement, adventure and possibility attached to the person leaving. So it partly feels like being left behind.
When someone leaves the company, everyone impacted needs to be cared for because it’s a loss. Even if the person’s departure...
When you’re leading change, how do you know you’re getting anywhere? How do you measure progress?
Measuring change progress does not need to be exact. It only needs to be directionally correct to lead to useful and actionable insights. The best place to start is by asking the question, what are the signs of progress? From there you can decide what data matters and what’s worth measuring.
Change can grow joy. An executive we spoke with recently referred to change as the destroyer of joy. It’s such a fascinating statement when you consider some of the phrases we use in business:
These are catchy phrases but also inspire inertia, disbelief, fear and a lot of cognitive dissonance when the words and actions of the company, leaders and managers don’t match, when that’s not acknowledged.
Another executive we spoke with said they don’t use the word “change” in their company, they say “evolution” because change is too scary.
Clearly there’s fear attached to change, but there’s another way. A company can change and grow joy. It’s all about how!
When Ed presented his decision analytics PhD research at INFORMS (Institute of Operations Research and the Management Sciences) conferences, no one asked about the math. What they asked was, “How did you get the organization to implement the decision?”
Before joining ACMP’s (Association of Change Management Professionals) Board of Directors, Roxanne noticed that at the annual conferences the attendees talked about their role in implementing what seemed like poor decisions. They wondered out loud, “How can we have a bigger influence on the change decisions?”
We realized decisions and change are two sides of the same coin.
Sometimes decisions don’t get implemented because the change seems too daunting.
Sometimes change implementations stop because a barrier is discovered that is too big to overcome.
It’s better to think of a change decision as a learning process because new information will be learned as the implementation begins. The original...
When leaders introduce change employees pay more attention to the words and actions of the leaders and influencers in the company. That’s because they’re trying to make sense of what’s happening and understand how they can be successful in this new situation.
They’re evaluating these things…
As a leader you can think this through before you introduce change. Even if you spend 10 minutes on this you’ll get a more empathetic mindset so you can adjust your message.
Joy at Work is about trust, respect, belonging, cohesion, integrity, accountability, adaptability, growth, participation and commitment. It’s about helping employees focus on the work...