Project Management

Welcome to the Intersection of Change and Emotion

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Change has changed. Gone are the days of change being this linear thing with a clear beginning and end. Change today is stacked, dynamic, non-discriminatory, complex, and all the time. And the emotions change inspires cannot be denied, carrying the power to accelerate or stall your efforts. The time is now to change our perspective to remain relevant in today's reality of change and beyond. In this blog, you'll find practical tips, tools, and inspiration to fuel your growth and fulfillment through change. Your feelings are welcome here.

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Three Must-Read Tips to Make Your Change Efforts More Sustainable

How Do Leadership Styles and Power Distribution Impact Change Readiness?

How to Get Employees to Buy into Change

Practical Tips to Overcome Change Fatigue

How to Deal with the Emotions Change Inspires in a Healthy Way

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Three Must-Read Tips to Make Your Change Efforts More Sustainable

As a project management professional, you’ve undoubtedly faced the frustration of seeing your change efforts spark initial enthusiasm, only to watch results gradually drift back to the status quo. It feels like you’re constantly pushing and pushing, with progress slipping away the moment you ease up. Sound familiar? Let’s explore how to make your change efforts stick for the long haul.

Sustained Change Happens Through Sustained Beliefs

To achieve lasting change, we must focus on the beliefs that underpin our actions. When people truly believe in the necessity and benefits of change, their actions will reflect those beliefs consistently, even in your absence. Here are three tips to help your next change initiative become stickier.

Three "Sticky" Tips To Help You Sustain Change Adoption

Sticky Tip #1: Define Beliefs or Thoughts Required to Sustain the Change

Start by identifying the core beliefs necessary to support the change. These beliefs should tie into your organization’s existing value system to ensure they resonate deeply.

For example, if you’re implementing new software aimed at boosting efficiency, nurture the belief that “this software will enable higher efficiency.” Provide concrete evidence to back this up—share case studies, success stories from other departments, and data showing time saved or errors reduced.

Example: If your organization values innovation, frame the software as a cutting-edge tool that embodies the company’s innovative spirit. Present data from pilot projects or testimonials from early adopters within the team to reinforce this belief.

Sticky Tip #2: Define the Actions Those Thoughts Manifest and Role-Model Them

Beliefs drive actions. Once you’ve defined the necessary beliefs, outline the specific actions that will manifest from these thoughts. Then, role-model these actions consistently.

If the belief is that new software increases efficiency, the actions might include regularly using the software, sharing tips on how to use it effectively, and celebrating small wins achieved through its use.

Example: As a leader, demonstrate your commitment by using the software yourself and sharing your experiences. Encourage team members to do the same and highlight their successes in team meetings.

Sticky Tip #3: Never Underestimate the Power of Consistency

Consistency is crucial in moving from transition to steady-state. It’s not enough to push for change initially; you must reinforce the new behaviors until they become the norm. Brands build their identity through consistent messaging and actions—your change efforts should follow the same principle.

Example: Think of a brand like Coca-Cola, which consistently reinforces its message of happiness and refreshment through every touchpoint. Similarly, ensure that every communication, action, and decision aligns with the new way of working. Over time, this consistency will solidify the change in your organization’s culture.

Conclusion

Making change stick requires more than just initial enthusiasm—it demands a strategic focus on sustaining the beliefs that drive new behaviors. By defining and nurturing the necessary beliefs, role-modeling the resulting actions, and maintaining unwavering consistency, you can transform fleeting wins into lasting success.

Remember, sustained change happens through sustained beliefs. Let’s make your change efforts stickier and more impactful.


By following these tips, you can enhance the longevity and effectiveness of your change initiatives, ensuring that your hard work leads to lasting improvements within your organization

Posted on: July 21, 2024 10:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Do Leadership Styles and Power Distribution Impact Change Readiness?

Change. It’s inevitable in the dynamic world of project management. Whether you’re integrating new systems, executing innovative projects, or leading teams through transformational programs, change is your constant companion. As a Project Management professional, you are so often an agent of change, tasked with both executing and leading change in your organization.  And with change often comes a sense of powerlessness. But here's the kicker: Think you’re powerless when change happens in your work? Think again!  In this blog post, I'm exploring this miss-perception and arming you with powerful questions to keep you in your seat in power through even your toughest change and transformation endeavors.

Who Holds the Power in Change?

It’s easy to feel like a pawn in the grand game of organizational change, especially when directives are handed down from your manager and/or the executive team. But let's shift our perspective. The real question is: Who truly holds the power in change? The answer might surprise you. It's not just the top-tier executives or those sitting in position of authority. Power is more distributed than you might think, and understanding this can transform your approach to change.

Watch Out: The Toxicity of "Power Over"

Leadership styles play a pivotal role in how power is perceived and exercised during times of change. Leaders who adopt a “power over” approach, a concept that Brene Brown dives deep into (LEARN MORE:  https://brenebrown.com/resources/brene-brown-on-power-and-leadership/#:~:text=Power%20over%20is%20driven%20by,on%20Empathy%2C%20Unity%20and%20Courage.), driven by pressure from higher-ups to “get it done,” can inadvertently create an environment of toxicity and resistance. This style overlooks the potential feelings of powerlessness among team members, stifling creativity, and diminishing morale.

When leaders fail to consider the emotional and psychological impacts of change, they risk alienating their teams. This top-down, authoritative style can lead to disengagement and even active resistance, undermining the very change they aim to implement.

The Secret Behind the Power Dynamics of Change Readiness

Here’s the secret: We are ALL empowered when change hits; we never lose our power to choose. Even in the midst of organizational upheaval, you retain control over your actions, reactions, and attitudes. It’s about defining what you CAN control and leveraging it to navigate through the change effectively.

Recognizing your inherent power during change can transform your mindset from one of victimhood to one of empowerment. You have the ability to influence outcomes, inspire your team, and drive the change process forward.

Change Happens FOR You, Not TO You:

Three Questions to Maximize the Opportunity Change Presents

Embracing change as an opportunity rather than a threat can unlock incredible growth. Here are three pivotal questions to guide you through this transformative journey:

  • Question #1: How Do I Want to Grow?
    • Focus internally. Change is a fertile ground for personal development. Whether it’s cultivating more patience, empathy, or diligence, this is your moment to evolve. Map out your choices and seek input from those who know you best. Your colleagues, mentors, and even family can provide valuable insights into areas for growth.
  • Question #2: Where Do I Want to Go?
    • Focus externally. What are your career aspirations? What’s the next role you’re aiming for? Identify the skills and experiences you need to reach your goals. Map out your choices, and engage with trusted mentors and advisors who can guide you on this path. Their perspectives can illuminate opportunities you might not have considered.
  • Question #3: What’s MY Communication Strategy?
    • Effective communication is the linchpin of successful change management. Define how often you want to check in with your management and team throughout the change process. Establish clear agendas for each check-in, focusing on transparency, progress updates, and addressing concerns. Regular communication builds trust and keeps everyone aligned and engaged.

Change is a powerful catalyst for growth and innovation, but it requires a shift in how we perceive and exercise power. By adopting leadership styles that empower rather than control, and by embracing our own power to choose, we can transform the challenges of change into opportunities for success. Remember, change happens FOR you, not TO you. Harness this mindset, and lead your team through change with confidence and resilience.

Posted on: July 07, 2024 10:04 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

How to Get Employees to Buy into Change

Change is a business imperative, but how do we best encourage employees to embrace this inevitability? Ah, I'm buzzing with excitement to share my thoughts on this! With years of experience in navigating the tumultuous seas of change management and now myself and my team pioneering the Change Growth space, I've honed in on three actionable tips that you can start implementing today to foster a culture that not only accepts but champions change. So, let's dive in!

By the end of this blog post, you'll be equipped with three battle-tested strategies to enhance your team's receptiveness to change. We'll explore the essence of transparent communication, delve into the individual costs of change, and discover how to make the rewards of change truly compelling for your employees.

The Real Cost of Change

Before we jump into the actionable tips, it's crucial to acknowledge that change carries a price tag—not just for the business but for every individual tasked with implementing it. This cost manifests as time, emotional energy, mental strain, and physical effort (be sure to check out my one of my recent posts about this). These aren't just abstract concepts; they represent the real, palpable expenditures your team members incur when navigating change. Recognizing this is the first step towards genuine empathy and support.

Tip #1: Transparent Communication

Imagine change as a product you need to sell to your team. Not just a one-time purchase, but something they need to continue to invest in. The key to selling this 'product' effectively lies in transparent communication. What is the change? Why is it necessary? What will be different, and what will be expected of each team member?

Avoid sugar-coating or downplaying the challenges. Think about the last time you bought a product that didn't live up to its hype. It's frustrating, isn't it? It diminishes trust and makes you hesitant to make future purchases. The same goes for how you introduce change to your team. Be clear, be honest, and be direct.

Tip #2: Understand Individual Costs

Change impacts everyone differently. After laying out the what and the why, take the time to engage with each team member. How prepared are they to adapt? Are they already overwhelmed or stretched thin? This understanding allows you to tailor support to individual needs, ensuring that no one is left behind as the organization moves forward. It’s about respecting their current workload and emotional state, and adjusting expectations accordingly.

Tip #3: Make the Change Worthwhile

For change to be embraced, its benefits must outweigh the costs. Connect the dots between the change and its positive outcomes for each individual. How will it lead to better market positioning, company growth, or more efficient processes? How does it translate into personal growth, job satisfaction, or career opportunities?

People need to see what’s in it for them. They need to feel that their efforts are not just for the company’s benefit but that they are personally gaining something valuable—be it professional development, recognition, or simply the ability to achieve more with less.

Conclusion

Implementing change is never without its challenges, but with transparent communication, a deep understanding of individual costs, and a clear demonstration of the benefits, you can inspire your team to not only accept change but to drive it. Remember, when your team buys into change, they're not just adapting; they're adopting a mindset that will propel your entire organization forward. Let’s embrace change, together!

 

Posted on: April 29, 2024 09:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (10)

Practical Tips to Overcome Change Fatigue

Change fatigue is real and likely being experienced by many within your team or organization and perhaps even yourself. So as a leader and Project Management professional, how can you help your teams overcome change fatigue? I’ve got six effective and easily accessible tips to help.

In this blog, you’re going to first develop a better understanding of the dynamics at play which cause and sustain change fatigue. Then I’m going to guide you through three major ways you can help those in your workforce overcome change fatigue with helpful, action-oriented tips along the way. Given the rapid pace at which our world is changing, this is perhaps one of the most important and meaningful pieces I’ve shared yet.

Understanding the Cost of Change on the Individual

Leading and executing change in the workplace is imperative today. Not only are there costs to the business when doing so (consultants, technology integration, equipment/robotics, hiring new resources, etc.) but there are also costs to every individual in the workforce having to bring the change to life: their physical, mental, and emotional energy. The greater these costs climb, the greater the risk of change fatigue.

You can overcome change fatigue for yourself and your people in three major ways: (1) reduce the costs, (2) offset the costs, and (3) mitigate the impact of spent costs.  Let's walk through each as well as a few practical tips to bring it all to life.

Strategies and Tips to Overcome Change Fatigue

Reduce the Costs – By this, I mean, lead the business in a way that balances internal and external pressures for growth with the costs required of every individual in the organization to successfully manage change.

  • Practical Tip #1:  Streamline priorities to minimize the waves of change experienced by the workforce. Would you rather your workforce execute your top three change imperatives with excellence and rigor or your top ten with mediocrity and marginal success?

  • Practical Tip #2:  Strategically execute change based on workforce capability and readiness. Your strategy can also include segmenting the workforce being affected by a given change initiative.  Give the highest change cost to that segment of the workforce with the highest capability and readiness rating.

Offset the Costs – In practice, this looks like offsetting the costs of executing change with clearly established and communicated gains for the individuals responsible for making it happen.

  • Practical Tip #3:  Drive change with purpose, clearly communicating the 'why' and 'why now' behind the change.  The gain or offset for the individual is knowing that their work, their effort, the costs they're expending are being used to move a purpose or mission forward that they truly believe in.

  • Practical Tip #4:  Create healthy incentives.  The gain or offset here could be monetary, influence, or personal development-related.  This helps create the 'what's in it for me' narrative.

Mitigate the Impact of Spent Costs – This is where your mind might have gone at the start thinking about helping others overcome change fatigue. They are the efforts you can lead to help mitigate or reduce the impact felt by individuals spending the costs associated with making change happen.

  • Practical Tip #5:   Ensure robust well-being programs.  What are the outlets established for individuals in the organization to leverage when going through waves of change? Whether that be mental health training, external experts in place for coaching or guidance, or programs that allow individuals to take breaks from the daily grind.

  • Practical Tip #6:  Prioritize people over profit.  Develop muscle memory within the workforce through training programs and increased opportunity to learn from low-stakes failure. Put budget in place to support these efforts. And even when stakes are high in the throes of change efforts, if an individual in your organization is being overwhelmed by change fatigue, work with them to understand what support looks like and provide it.

Change is inevitable, but change fatigue doesn’t have to be. By understanding the cost of change, reducing these costs, offsetting them with clear gains, and mitigating their impact, we can navigate our teams through the tumultuous seas of change with resilience and enthusiasm. Let's embrace these strategies, not just to survive but to thrive in the ever-evolving landscape of our industries.

Posted on: March 10, 2024 01:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

How to Deal with the Emotions Change Inspires in a Healthy Way

Let's tackle an undeniable truth: emotion is a natural inheritance of our species. They're as much a part of us as the very air we breathe. Try as we might, evading them is a fool's errand. Yet, it's the perspective we carry about our emotions that defines our pathway and, in the game of change, determines our potential to grow. It's not just about feeling—it's about directing our emotional energy in fruitful, healthy ways. And guess what? I'm about to break down just how to do that.

Are you ready to shift gears and transform your emotional energy?

What follows are four revolutionary ways to perceive your emotional energy differently than you do today. Trust me, if you can adopt just ONE of these mindsets, you'll be well on your way to cultivating a much healthier relationship with your emotional vibrations. Buckle up!

  • Perspective #1: Emotion Just Is

Shift the paradigm from tagging emotions as either good or bad. Each feeling—from the whirlwind of frustration to the high tides of joy—is a mere state of being. Emotions just are. Certainly, some demand a heftier dose of our stamina, yet what if we simply accepted each one as a natural occurrence? The real game-changer kicks in when we embrace our choice to place meaning on the emotion, subsequently, choosing how we respond to any given emotion. Will you respond with resistance or resilience?

  • Perspective #2: Emotion as a Signal

Hands up if you've ever sat with an emotion and wondered, "What on earth are you trying to tell me?" Well, ponder this: emotions are tailored messengers, each carrying a unique invitation to a land of opportunity. I frequently ponder, "What door of opportunity is this emotion coaxing me towards?" Emotions are not just the labels we place on the culmination of feelings and sensations within our bodies; they're compasses, energetic guides through the journey we call life. Once we decode their language, we tap into an oasis of astonishing resources.

  • Perspective #3: Emotion as Fuel

Have you ever felt such a surge of passion that time slipped away while you were riding the wave of creation? That's emotional energy in its most potent form—propelling you forward. The magic happens when we consciously channel these energies in directions that matter. Embrace your emotional currents, and watch them turbo-charge your aspirations.

  • Perspective #4: Emotion as a Necessity for Meaningful Connection

And here we are, at the heart of our emotional universe—the compelling truth that emotions are essential for forging authentic connections. Reflect for a moment on individuals who have left indelible marks on your life's canvas: a mentor whose wisdom sparked a transformation within you; a colleague whose support became the lighthouse in your professional storm; a friend whose laughter resonated with your own; or a loved one whose gaze is a mirror to your soul.  Those connections would not be nearly as powerful and sustainable without emotion running through them.

Emotions are the threads that weave our relationships into the rich tapestries they are. They are not mere reactions but the foundation upon which genuine connections are built. The tapestry of human connection is embroidered with emotive threads—vivid, intricate, and universally understood. Emotions are not just felt; they are communicated and shared, transcending barriers and bonding us in unspoken harmony. After all, isn't it the quiver of vulnerability, the rush of joy, the solemnity of empathy that draws us closer, welding souls together? This is the language that is universally spoken by all who possess the courage to feel.

So, the next time you feel the stir of emotion within you, notably when experiencing change, remember these four transformative perspectives.

Emotions are not hurdles; they are stepping stones. They are not shadows; they are beacons. They are the very essence that fuels our growth, guides our journey, lights up our connections, and translates our humanity across the expanse of the universe. They're invitations to dance, harmonize, and, above all, connect deeply and authentically with the souls we encounter along this wondrous trek we call life.

Now, as you venture forward, armed with these new perspectives, which one will you integrate into your life first? How will you allow it to reshape the narrative of your journey? Share a comment and let me know!

Until next time, keep feeling, keep connecting, and keep changing the game!

Posted on: February 21, 2024 09:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)
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