Ritual, Change and Weisbord’s Future Search Conference

Change_Management_Strategy_RitualOrganizational change creates unavoidable uncertainty, resistance and chaos. Systems thinking can help in identifying negative consequences and to achieve positive outcomes. But the impact of transformation requires looking at people, groups and the larger system[1]. By taking this approach, organizations can build change coalitions with employees at all levels. In times of uncertainty it is essential that everyone has the opportunity to provide input and feel empowered to make decisions.[2]

Formal rites of passage or rituals are important and often an overlooked tool to overcome these challenges. Rituals build culture, strengthen relationships and are particularly important for acknowledging challenges, celebrating wins or forging new paths. In times of change, stakeholders often need a way to declare it is time to say goodbye to the old way of doing things because there is no turning back. The idea of farewell as a process can pave the path towards embracing a shared vision for moving forward. Future Search Conference is one example of a tool that can help to successfully facilitate this process.

 

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Thirteen Behaviors that Build Trust in Relationships

Building trust is a process of modeling behavior shared vision and repeating messaging

Building trust is a process of modeling behavior, a shared vision and repeating messaging

What behaviors build trust in relationships?

Think about a time you were part of a really effective team that excelled at pulling together to achieve a shared outcome. What were the attributes that made it successful?

Research shows that teams who collaborate to attain a common end goal are usually high in trust. Success often relies on a group with a sense of shared values, vision and purpose. When all stakeholders are given opportunities to have input, they are inspired to build something together, so as to change leaders, how do we work to create a culture of trust? Recently I read Stephen Covey’s book called; “The Speed of Trust,” which looks at trust from three perspectives.

  • Trust as an economic driver that boosts productivity and results. Emotional deposits and withdrawals as an example.
  • Trust as the #1 competency in leadership
  • Trust can be learned

So who is a high trust leader? It is a person with high credibility, solid interpersonal skills with the ability to cultivate trust in teams and throughout organizations and knows that trust is critical to productivity and cost. The four cornerstones below are key for leaders to establish trust.

  1. High Competence -This combines the education and experience we bring to the table
  2. Integrity (Character) – Consistent alignment of thoughts feelings and actions with values principles and goals
  3. Intent (Character) – Self-reflection that examines why we do the things we do
  4. Results (Competency) – Make us credible

13 Traits of Strong Trust Leaders

  1. Talk straight so everyone understands your point of view
  2. Demonstrate respect – how you treat the one has an effect on the many
  3. Create transparency (act with authenticity and no hidden agendas)
  4. Rights all wrongs – Demonstrate accountability and humility
  5. Show loyalty to every person – Credits others for success, always speaks of others as if they are present
  6. Deliver results  (vs activity)
  7. Continuous self-improvement and commitment to learning
  8. Confront reality with tact – acknowledge unspoken and confront the issue(s), not the person
  9. Clarify expectationsvalidate, acknowledge and demonstrate flexibility to renegotiate when appropriate
  10. Practice Accountability and hold others accountable. Clearly, communicate the progress of self and others
  11. Listen first with the intent to understand (instead of respond) what is important to others and to ensure they feel understood
  12. Keep commitments (according to research, this is the number one way to build trust)
  13. Extend trust to others
 As someone who works in change management, a good exercise might be to go through these behaviors, ask your team their thoughts about them and talk them through. If everyone agrees and has input, it could offer a basis for creating something together. It’s part of what makes change management initiatives successful.
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Transition – Defining “Between”

Transitions - Adapting to ChangeToday’s post is about “between,” which comes in many forms. It made me consider the various ways we process and deal with change. Regardless of its application (professional, emotional or personal), the techniques for recognizing and approaching transition differs for each of us.

Sometimes it flows and feels natural, as captured in the photo for this post. A young man who is between testing for his next belt level in karate and receiving a new status because he is ready and has done the work. He has practiced learning the movement and techniques with precision and accuracy, and he knows that along with his sense of accomplishment come confidence and the long term rewards that follow.

In graduate school, we are taught that we should expect resistance when it comes to change in the workplace. The opposition is a natural part of the process during transformation and frequently rears its head when people do not understand why change is necessary, or there is not consistent support, repetition, and communication of the messaging.

OD experts explain there are symbolic rituals necessary for organizational change that brings everyone along, so they feel as though they are part of the process and have input to the outcome. It is a blueprint that incorporates the right guidance systems so human capital can collectively take a step back, acknowledge their current reality, say goodbye to the old way of doing things while working together to build a future. [1] (Kanter, 2008) The change will be more successful when all stakeholders understand their roles, contribution, and call to action.

In our personal lives, navigating transition is more complex because not everyone is given the coping mechanisms for recognizing and dealing with change in healthy ways.

When it comes to how we work through a transformation as individuals, there are times when we need to sit with discomfort and uncertainty for a bit as part of our reflection. Often our experience can provide answers and this world is one full of endless possibilities. Although there is a school of thought that might agree it is easier to give help than to ask for it, leveraging our support system is a resource we cannot ignore.

Discomfort is healthy when it motivates us to use our courage and move towards something better. A transition can be the beginning of something exciting and new that will provide opportunities to grow, learn, unlearn, re-think, re-learn, heal, innovate and re-invent.

Awareness of our own resistance to change could come in the form of anxiety, physical discomfort, fear, anger, sadness, insecurities, etc. In time, we learn the best way to overcome any of that is to get input, learn from it and then practice new behaviors until they feel normal.

Someone I know spent a great deal of time trying to work through a process like this. He shared what worked for him while he was struggling. His solutions are below.

Write down the following and reflect on the questions below, one at a time:

  1. “Yes, this change is hard.” (Make a list of what makes it hard for you)
  2. “How can I objectively examine the pros and cons of this situation?
  3. What part of my fear is getting in the way?
  4. How can this experience be my teacher?
  5. What can I do to move forward?

Once those issues had been examined, he found a trusted source to share it with that we will call “his people.” The ones he knew would not judge, give uninvited advice, or try to fix him or the situation. A trusted resource who would just listen. “His people” are the ones who have earned the right to hear his stories. It took practice, but it was amazing to see how the consistency of repeating the action over and over helped him grow.

So if you are finding yourself “between” something and are feeling in transition, perhaps his process could work for you as well. And who knows, you just may be happy you did. Thanks for visiting my blog, share your story or ask questions below, I’d love to hear from you!

[1] Kanter, R.M. (2008). Transforming giants. Harvard Business Review, 86(1), 43-52.

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The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Prompt. Danielle Hark of Broken Light Collective challenges us to photograph between. This week, capture something between two things, reflect on the process of transition, or interpret this word in your own way.

Strategically Marketing My Brand – Me

Looking for employment is so very different today than it was just a couple of years ago and I like to think of my job search as a marketing campaign. Simply putting a resume out on a job board on the internet isn’t enough, I have to be more. Marketing is a strategy that translates how consumers will view my image and brand. My prospective clients are hiring leaders at targeted companies and it is my job to get in front of them for informational interviews.  Read more of this post

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