Things Change, People Transition: Change as a Process

In general, change isn’t complicated, but it is complex. In its simplest form we use terms like; to alter, shift, adjust, move, switch, transfer, etc. Change is a transformation or transition from one phase, condition, or state, to another.

From a change management perspective, assumptions that each individual impacted by a new initiative will always experience change on time, on budget and on schedule, is flawed, because this approach lacks context and doesn’t always consider the people side of change. It may not consider outcomes and results after the change or ask what behaviors need to change and be sustained. Organizational and personal change have to be approached and measured differently because people embrace or resist change differently. No two are alike.

Organizational and personal change have to be approached and measured differently because no one will embrace or resist change the same. Individual Response to Change Management BestBehavior doesn’t happen in a predictive order and as a result, it is imperative to think about change as a process, rather than a project.

Things change. People transition.

The change curve was created in the 1960’s by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross as a way to explain the grieving process. Over time, it has evolved as a tool to help people understand responses and reactions to significant change. Since change is a non-linear process, some people may take two steps forward and one step back along this curve for a number of reasons. Some examples might include:

  • Assumed or no role clarity for the change
  • No visible support and commitment from leadership
  • Lack of project, organizational and individual change integration
  • Those impacted do not feel they have had input into the process
  • Leaders and/or impacted people are not engaged
  • No consistency in change messaging formats, channels and frequency
  • Lack of transparency about why the change is happening
  • People impacted don’t understanding of “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM)
  • Business readiness or training may have limited or no understanding of adult learning theory application
  • People don’t feel permission to speak with candor
  • Past performance with organizational change could create assumptions that history will repeat itself
  • Impact on current role and/or fear of losing a job

There are countless strategies and tools we can use to help us to understand where people fall on the change commitment curve and then subsequent strategies to take corrective action. As change management practitioners, we focus on results, outcomes, reinforcement and realization of benefits (including ROI), for the people side of change. We do this using a structured, yet flexible set of tools, processes, skills and principles to achieve the required goals of projects and initiatives.

What challenges and approaches have you experienced or used to help bring people impacted by the changes along for the journey?

Please leave a comment below. I’d like this blog to be a forum where people feel comfortable sharing what they agree or disagree with along with best practices or key learnings.I will honor desired anonymity, so if you would like to leave a response without having your name listed, please feel free to let me know. Thank you for visiting my blog!

Circles of Meaning

Once in a while, I like participating in the “Weekly Photo Challenge” over at The Daily Post. A new meme comes out each Friday and I think about the proposed topic. I wonder what I could say about it and what my readers will be interested in as well. This week, Cheri asks us to let a shape, a circle, inspire us.

Circles Change Management Business TimeI took this picture at the James J. Hill Business Library because it had a certain old world charm that grabbed my attention. I like the concept of time as it relates to the evolution of knowledge throughout the ages.

Circles have been used metaphorically since the beginning of history. In many cultures, they represent unity, enlightenment, divinity and protection. At first glance, a circle can seem simple, yet they are one of the most common and universal signs used throughout history of the world.

Circles have symbolic use in divinity: For example, with Taoism the Yin Yang image embodies two forces in the universe that are opposites that balance one another. Hinduism uses the Dharma Chakra to represent the wheel of law that leads to enlightenment. Artists have used halos in Christianity and Buddhism to symbolize light and holiness. Paganism circles exemplified supernatural forces, and in ancient times Celtics stood inside of circles for protection.

Circles are symbols of inclusiveness, wholeness and eternity because the continuous line characterizes something with no beginning and no end.  They also represent completion or “coming full circle,” as in starting where one began. Circles often remind us about the cycles of life, years, seasons, days, minutes, hours and of course, TIME.

In business we use circles in many ways. In meetings, we sit in circles, in flow charts, circles show beginning or ending of processes, we move in cycles from centralizing to decentralizing something away from or to something else. We also assume many things in business happen in linear patterns, which is not the case. A circle could be a way to make the case for this.

In change management, we can think about circles as cycles of behavior. We evaluate and measure individual change differently than organizational change because successful organizational change happens when individuals deliver and sustain the new behavior.  Our focus is to change old ways of thinking by providing various levels of coaching guides and tools for leadership, Circles of Concern Influence Change Controlstakeholder and sponsors during different stages of projects.

We provide assessments to mitigate resistance to change because we understand that behaviors happen in cycles or patterns. One example of many, might be to leverage Steven Covey’s “Circles of Influence” model (where appropriate) for conversation about what we control, influence and have concerns about.

When we integrate change management with project management, studies have proven it leads to higher levels of success such as increased in adoption rates and sustaining of new behaviors.

Are there other ways you see circles used as symbols in business, project and change management? I’m looking forward to having you join the conversation. Thanks for visiting my blog!

 

Being Rooted and Branching Out #TreeTuesday

About being rooted and branching out in leadershipWhen I was a little girl, we had a huge willow tree in our back yard that we would climb. It was so big that sometimes there were as many as 6 kids in it at once!

At #TreeTuesday over on Google Plus there is a community I sometimes participate in, where people share photos they have taken of trees. I love being in the outdoors, and today I selected this picture as part of #TreeTuesday. I took it in 2012 while traveling to SouthEast Asia for a Global Systems Class as we walked from our hotel to the National Museum of Singapore.

The picture and the idea of #TreeTuesday made me think about being rooted in something bigger than ourselves, which for many people is a component of personal growth and faith. A few years back in some coaching sessions I had with Doug Lennick, (he was the coach), he discussed fallibility and that we often carry 2 mindsets with us. One is our ideal self, (who we want to be), and our real self (who we are).

Doug’s consistent message was always that when we ensure our morals, values, principles and beliefs, are in alignment with our thoughts feelings and actions, it makes us better people, which brings us closer to our ideal authentic selves. This has become an invaluable tool in my personal life and career for building relationships and credibility as a thought leader. Studies have indicated that the four most important characteristics for gaining credibility in leadership include:

  • Honesty
  • Being forward-looking
  • Inspirational
  • Competent

(Kouzes and Posner, 2010).

Alignment encompasses each of those in different ways. We all bring our experiences to the table, so how about you? Are there other traits in addition to the ones above you feel are just as important? Please share below and thanks for stopping by!

Want to be an Extra in a Movie this Weekend? St. Paul & Bloomington!

PeteKWongMy friend Pete K Wong is shooting a movie this Saturday in St. Paul.  He is looking for extras and runs in good circles. His explanation of the project along with RSVP information is below:

.Have fun!!

My short film is a drama/comedy fictional story I wrote, but also based on something similar I had experienced. It is about a motivational speaker who is early in his career going through training but each time he’s tested he fails, eventually he comes to realize something he never expected!

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The scene on the 23/24 are the presentation scenes. You would be in the audience listening to the speaker speak and in one scene he gets the crowd upset and they rush the stage after him and the other on Sunday he gets nervous and runs out!”

DAY 1: St. Paul
Saturday Feb. 23, 2013
Location: Recovery Church 253 State St, St Paul, MN 55107
11-4:30pm
Wardrobe: Casual

DAY 2: Bloomington
Sunday Feb. 24, 2013
Location: 8120 Penn Ave S 1st floor next to Wally’s Restaurant
12:30pm-4pm
Wardrobe: Business attire and Casual option

This is not a paid position. Credits, Copy, and Meals will be provided. If you are interested please send a confirmation to petekwong@gmail.com as we’d like to know how many people are signed up and for which date is more suitable for you.

Day 10: Turning to Community: Asking for Help in Times of Need

21 days to happiness: My story and 3 things I am thankful for: 

Why don’t we lean on one another more and ask for help? My experience as a project manager, coach, mentor and trainer has always been to get people to step outside of their comfort zones by using leadership development strategies to confirm their thoughts, feelings and actions are in congruence with principles, beliefs, values and goals. When we understand what is important to others, we can use that as a tool bring out the best in them. People have shared some of the following reasons with me about why they don’t ask for help:

  1. It will make me look too needy
  2. I am too busy to ask for help and haven’t had the time
  3. Requesting help is a sign of weakness
  4. People will assume I am not as smart as someone else because I can’t do it myself
  5. Rejection
  6. What is the cost?
Experience has taught me that the only valid reason for not asking for help above is number 6. What is the cost? Not financially, but mentally, emotionally, professionally and spiritually. The real reason for not asking for help is about one thing.
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F.E.A.R (Feelings and Expectations that Aren’t Real).
.
Emotional competence comes when we challenge ourselves to shift our paradigms towards a new way of thinking, which uncovers an alternate perspective. I have never had one business partner say they regretted being pushed to grow. Humility is an important quality in leadership.  So are relationships and being connected. Communities exist for a reason, we need one another. Sometimes when we ask for help, we are giving a gift to someone who wants to make a difference.
So what are you waiting for? Who do you need to reach out to today?
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Three things I am grateful for today:
  1. There is power when we adjust our assumption points to expand our horizons, I am growing and learning
  2. I get to rely on the community of other brilliant people around me and ask for help
  3. My experiences that helped me write this blog post. I hope it will make a difference to someone

Meet Tom Endersbe, Author, Three Commitments of Leadership

A few years back I had the privilege of working for Tom Endersbe, author of Three Commitments of Leadership: How Clarity, Stability, and Rhythm Create Great Leaders, a book that will guide leaders to make the Commitments which will result in a positive impact on your world and the people in it.

When I worked for Tom, he was an Executive in a Fortune 300 firm who got to that level as a result of his commitment to excellence, hard work and impeccable ability to build relationships. Prior to this role, Tom was a district manager who built a successful franchised financial planning practice that was in the top 1% of the company.

I watched him craft a team, implement a new initiative, inspire a dynamic group of people and get results. His ability to provide vision and guidance is without match. I believe a big part of this is because Tom genuinely cares about people and wants to help them be successful. If you want to create a culture of follower-ship, you need to read this book.

Recently I took some time to talk with Tom about his new book, below is a summary of our discussion.

Tell us a little more about the motivation behind writing the book and how it came about:

“I was interviewed by Jon Wortmann, one of my co-authors, for his prior book Mastering Communication at Work and he and I found some real synergy.  We started talking every week and discussing experiences we had as leaders and our thoughts about them.  A pattern emerged.  We both felt strongly that the greatest resource of any organization or team is the potential of the people to grow and contribute.  We described many situations where people just settled in and stopped growing.  It kept coming back to the environment they were in and the overwhelming feeling of complexity and uncertainty that stifled their ability and willingness to contribute to their full potential.  We identified that with a leader who was committed to Clarity, Stability, and a Rhythm that they could connect to, they began to take risk, innovate, collaborate, and grow.  That was how it began.”

What kind of challenges have you faced in the process of writing and publishing the book and how did you overcome them?

It took time.  I was driving 2 hours a couple of days a week to a new business that I had acquired and we used the drive time to share ideas.  We would talk, Jon would write-up what we discussed and we would react in writing back to each other.  We did this for many months before we looked to our agent Giles Anderson for his insight on how we were doing.  He pushed back on our writing style but supported our message.  We rewrote the content in more of a leader to leader way and it started to come together.”

How has writing the book helped you in your own growth?

Expressing your thoughts on a variety of themes in a blank page format, pushes you deeper into understanding from just awareness.  You become conscious.  In the words of the book, you gain Clarity.  That gave me a confident feeling of Stability, and Jon and I developed a Rhythm that we could follow.  We moved beyond awareness and cut new paths of thinking and Clarity.  I use the content myself every day.”

Why should people buy and read this book?

This book will provide a filter that everyone can use to sort through complexity in their lives and find the potential that exist in themselves and those around them.  I want everyone to believe that we can all be leaders and impact our world.”

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us today Tom. Is there anything else you would like to share in closing?

I encourage everyone to imagine what could be accomplished if we could unleash the talent of the people around us.  What if they became leaders too?  The Three Commitments of Leadership gives you insight into how.  By making the Commitments yourself, you can begin to model the behavior that will unleash the pent-up potential all around us.  I can’t wait to see the impact.”

Tom Endersbe is the former Head of Field Implementation and Training at Ameriprise and currently is CEO of Endersbe, Herron and Associates.

Reflections on Leadership: Humility and Empowerment

Leadership and LearningLeadership is an evolution that comes with experience. I am grateful to have had the benefit of working with some dynamic people over the years because they have taught me profound lessons through their words and actions.

I have recently been contemplating my own journey and what it means to be a good leader. As a result of this thought process, I am adding a section to my blog called ‘reflections on leadership’ which will be nuggets of wisdom I have learned and continue to acquire as I grow. Below is the first. I look forward to the discussion.

We have learned to be humble and wise enough not to be boastful because ego is a false sense of self that comes from insecurities and misguided thoughts. Looking to external sources for validation and approval will not fulfill our needs. True leadership comes from knowing that all we need lies within us and that we are enough.

The old saying “there is no ‘ ’ in team” reigns true.  Being a front-runner means we know the climb is not about us. We need one another and empowering people to be the best they can be is the key to success. We have learned how to step back and let others shine because when we make them look good, we look even better.

Do you have a story or thoughts about humility and empowerment in leadership? Please join the conversation and share your comments below!

Passion, Intention and the Power of Words

Self-awareness and emotional intelligence are important for all of us.  So is how we frame our personal brand, which is more powerful than we know. I believe that most of us have good intentions, but that doesn’t mean people will always understand whether or not those intentions are meaningful.

I have known people who are passionate and care about the work they are doing so much you can see their perseverance and determination. When they care about things they do it in a BIG way by taking on a new task, making a difference for others, staying focused, etc. These traits can work for us or against us. Passionate people are often misunderstood and can be  judged as trying to be in control because they have high expectations of themselves and others.

What if we took a step back and asked ourselves what their intent is?

The key is positioning. We have to be reminded there is always another way and often a good mentor can help us remember that. The video below does an amazing job of getting the point across.

How did I end up here?

In the face of uncertainty, I do my best to begin from a place of gratitude. As I began setting up this blog I found myself thinking, “How in the world did I end up here?”  It’s because of the one thing in life that is constant. Change. For many years I worked in roles that included marketing, communications, program management, project management, training and leadership development in the financial services industry. I learned the value of getting the right message, to the right people, at the right time, through the right medium. I am grateful for the many gifts those experiences gave, the lessons it has taught and the lessons it continues to teach me. Read more of this post

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