leadership incorporated blog

May 25, 2010

Inspired to Succeed: If you’re not doing this, you’re falling behind.

Let’s see a show of hands: How many of you resist change?

I was a participant in a workshop this past weekend. As our leader brought up a fairly revolutionary concept, just entertaining the idea was a huge ask for one of the participants. We’re talking major shift in perspective and action. All the rest of us in the circle watched as this woman closed off, her body language screaming “Warning! Warning! System shut down is imminent!” Her face flushed, everything that could possibly be crossed was in serious protection mode. At one point, she couldn’t even answer the simplest of questions. We all felt compassion for her and I believe we all saw the opportunity she was missing.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all had moments in which we’ve faced the difference between change we’ve chosen and change that is being thrust upon us.

The problem is that right now (and really always), change is the way of things. If you’re not in a state of change, you are falling behind.

If you are in resistance to essential change, you could unintentionally be your own — and your business’ — worst enemy.

Whether you’re a leader in an organization going through change — or are in the process of changing from one organization to another — you don’t want to be in victim mode. Your choices and decisions will be much more effective if they come from clarity and intention as opposed to fear and resistance.

So what can you do to get yourself into a state of greater openness, so you can make informed choices and not reactive ones?

The first step is to notice when you get into that clenched, resistant place. You know that feeling when your inner saboteur takes over? You can feel it in your body. And, guess what? It’s blatantly visible to others. This is not a particularly useful approach for reaching your objectives.

Here is a simple exercise to post on your wall and refer to when you hear those warnings going off:

A. Remove yourself from the pressure situation. This is key. It’s really hard to do this work in the presence of others, especially if others are freaking out.

B. Make an agreement with yourself to suspend judgment. This process is just about discovering what is true and what is possible. When it’s all said and done you may end up in the same place — only more clear and fully prepared.

C. Get out a sheet of paper and pen…when you’re in a state of resistance your mind can play tricks on you and easily get you off-track. The written word keeps you honest.

D. Write full answers to the following questions (this is just for you, so don’t worry about making it pretty.)

1. What is the essence of the change that is being asked? State it as clearly and succinctly as possible

2. What is the intended purpose of this change?

3. List all the con evidence — why is this not a good change?

4. How could it be possible that this change will be beneficial? List ALL possible ways you can think of. (Go ahead. Be positive about it for a minute. No one has to know but you. You can still decide to resist.)

5. What is the cost of changing?

6. What is the cost of not changing?

7. What role would you like to play in this change?

8. What would make this change more palatable for you?

9. What are your true options in this situation?

10. What is your next step?

E. Usually this process makes your choice pretty clear. If not, sleep on it and do it again.

Let me know how it goes.

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