Managing Change

Change is often regarded as an emotive subject. Many people say that they dislike change, fear change, avoid change. But is that true?

Change is constant. Day changes into night; night changes into day. Spring changes into Summer, which changes into Autumn and so on. No-one seems to be too upset about that, do they? So maybe predictable change isn’t the problem.

It’s also obvious that most people choose to change aspects of their lives and situation on a regular basis. Few people are traumatised by choosing a new car or planning a holiday. Most of us embrace that kind of change willingly. We even move house, renovate our homes, change jobs and/or partners without complaining that we don’t like change!

Of course, all of those examples are changes we control for ourselves. They’re not inflicted on us by someone else. Changes we choose for ourselves aren’t any more of a problem than the predictable changes of one season into the next.

Generally, what make people uncomfortable are the effects of unexpected change initiated by other people. When suddenly the company has a reorganisation or buys another company. When your boss gets promoted and relocates, leaving you without leadership for a while. Or when a whole function is outsourced – changing the relationships between departments and colleagues.

At times like that some people feel insecure or apprehensive. But not everyone.

How you respond to change is largely a matter of habit. It’s also likely to be a factor in how you are regarded by your peers and your bosses.

When change springs up on you, what do you do first? Think of all the positive opportunities that the change brings? Or lament the loss of what used to be?

Many years ago I had a boss, a Store Manager, who told me in the first week I was working with her, ‘Next week we’ll get back to normal’. She said the same at the end of my second week. And the third. And by the time I was moving to my next role some months later, she was still saying, ‘Next week we’ll get back to normal’.

That’s when I realised, there is no NORMAL. Things are changing all the time. We create the illusion of ‘normal’ when we only pay attention to what stays the same. As soon as we start being aware of the shifts and seasons of everyday life, change becomes part of ‘business as usual’. And at that point, the experience of change isn’t an issue.

If you’re comfortable with the experience of change, that brings the freedom to consider how to respond to the change, how to turn it to your advantage, how to get the best form the opportunities.

Contrast that with the people who focus on the discomfort and spend no time thinking about how to respond to the change. So they stay stuck in the discomfort instead of moving on.

The best way to respond to change – is with more change!


[Video] Staff Engagement

One of the phrases I hear a lot, in HR departments in particular, is 'Staff Engagement' or 'Employee Engagement'. When I first heard this some years ago I thought "Oh, I don't really know much about that". But as time has gone on I've realised that, yes, I do know a great deal about staff engagement – I just had never called it that.














What is it that you are putting off doing?

According to research 95% of us procrastinate at some time and a massive 20% of us are subject to chronic procrastination – a condition that complicates our lives and is likely to result in us being less wealthy, less healthy and less happy.

Douglas Adams, one of the literary world’s most notorious procrastinators said this:
“I love deadlines – I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by”

When he died, in 2001, the book he was working on was reputed to be 12 years overdue!

So, what is it that we have to gain by putting off not only those tasks that we find difficult or tiresome but also those that, when we get around to them, we find enjoyable and fulfilling? After all, the energy expended in ‘not doing’ is often in excess of that expended ‘doing’.

And the reasons we give:

  • “I am a perfectionist”
  • “I’ m not in the right frame of mind today”
  • “I do my best work under pressure”

Do they really stack up when they support a method of working high in anxiety and accompanied by regret and self-recrimination?

Dr Piers Steel, author of “The Procrastination Equation” makes the suggestion that to overcome procrastination, you give a sizeable sum of money to an objective third party on the condition that, should you fail to complete a task within the deadline, they give the money to a cause you oppose.

What this strategy makes explicit is that, if we are to succeed in our objectives, the cost of ‘not doing’ needs to be greater than the cost of ‘doing’. Or, to put it another way, the gain from acting must be greater than the gain from delaying.

A Well Formed Outcome provides us with a compelling picture of our desired outcome and helps bring into the conscious mind the secondary gain – i.e. what we gain by not acting. Although I am unlikely to resort to giving sums of money to well-meaning friends, I can clearly see how adopting this NLP technique more widely can help me overcome my tendency to procrastinate and thus become a more productive (and less anxious) employee and colleague.

Written by this week's guest blogger, Brilliant Minds Associate Partner, Denise Potts


[Video] Why does the IT department nearly always come bottom in the staff survey?

 Does your organisation do an annual staff survey? Or maybe more frequently than that? If it does, then you've probably been quite interested in the results and looking at which departments are most engaged and which ones are least engaged. Because I get to go into lots of different organisations in the course of my work, one of the things I've noticed is that quite often one of the departments that's nearest the bottom in a staff survey is the IT department.