What Educators, Health Providers, Entrepreneurs Must Know About Change Management Initiatives

Summary: Change is stressful. Yet, knowing how to manage it is foundational for leadership growth and development. All leaders, in health care, education, and entrepreneurs must help the rest of the organization make friends with change. As we say — give change a chance.

Do you worry when change is right in front of you? Who do you turn to? How do you respond? What are your fears?

Did you know that the stress of change is a significant issue for all of us?

Look, I know you are smart and dedicated to being the best you can be. That’s why you are taking the time to read this.

I also know sometimes you question your ability to get things done without draining you to utter exhaustion.

Change management skills make the difference between staying stuck and moving forward

When you are in charge of a change management initiative at work do you inhale and forget to exhale?

Have you ever said to yourself “I can’t do this” only to move through the confusion and doubt when suddenly a rainbow of satisfaction brightens the day?

That is the moment you say to yourself, “I did it! I really made good things happen.”

Think about what it would be like to start each day with confidence, that “Yes I can” attitude that makes you feel strong and ready to take on the world.

I have a powerful process that will put change management in your basket of skills.

Change management skills are available once you know where to look.

Think of it this way: Water is water. Right?

Therefore, is your behavior the same when you are sitting at a resort watching the ocean waves and sipping a margarita as when you are facing a storm of hurricane dimensions and getting your house boarded up for safety?

I sure hope not.

When there is a message of danger in the air, different areas of the brain light up, and we get in touch with survival mechanisms.  

That old part of the brain where fight or flight lives,  gives us warning and sets us in motion. And it should.

This part of the brain, the amygdala, I have named “AMY HIJACK.” That’s cause it takes you away from what you must handle right now, back to old fears and concerns.

However, when situations change, you change the focus of your efforts. You cannot rely on the “don’t rock the boat” mentality when “the boat is rocking you!”

Don’t let Amy Hijack bring you to a halt in what needs to be done now.

In a position of authority, you are responsible for making positive change happen at work.

First, you must spend time alone to observe, understand, and transform yourself before you can be any good to lead others to success.

You must, as I like to say, look inside yourself.

Here are the essential patterns that appear when change is front and center.

First, there is the avoider who will leave a difficult situation at the top of a hat.

Next, is the denier who simply cannot see that change is necessary.

Then there is the rebel who points at others to blame for the situation.

Finally, there is the splitter that will cause teams to fight against each other to ignore needed changes.

There are four main aspects of change to consider.

Change is physical. It is also mental. You must include the emotional. And you need to also address the psychological.

Think about it this way: Would you ever wear the same underwear for weeks at a time? Or would you only eat hamburgers and fries for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for months?

Then why would you, any of us, keep doing the same things repeatedly, no matter what?

We get stuck in old, outdated patterns of behavior that may have helped us when we were 5 or 9, or 12, and there were adults around to tell us what to do. Now we are adults, and we must say to ourselves what to do.

This is a time to release the old patterns.

In my webinar Give Change a Chance you have the opportunity to learn about the patterns and how to transform them.

Do not “Waffle” when you take charge in times of change

Picture a waffle. It has high and low points to catch the syrup, which is orderly. This is good for eating, yet the image is not helpful for leading change. 

Often when people cannot take the helm or make a clear decision, when the flag of change is blowing, the troops are frustrated and call those in charge “waffles” and hate the “waffling.” 

Save the waffling for a Sunday brunch. Learn to take charge, be persuasive, think through the following steps, and then be courageous and accept them.

Change management requires you to be clear concise, and take charge.

During times of change, LESS IS MORE…

Too much talk in times of change becomes dysfunctional. Whether you have birthed a baby or watched a baby being birthed, or thought about what it must be like, we can all agree it is the epitome of a changing scene.

This is not a time to discuss whether you prefer pink, blue, yellow, lilac, or green; it is not a time to think about how much to pay a babysitter. The word of the day is usually “PUSH”!

Everyone needs to have a voice in times of change management.

However, too much time deciding how to decide is called mind zapping (there are other words often put in for zapping… use your imagination).

Less talk and more action.

Stay away from the word “FEEL” and keep the spotlight on the word “THINK.”

Here are some vital questions to ask that will keep the dialogue going and will also keep the conversation directed and clear:

  1. What specific materials do you need to get your part of the project done?
  2. Who are the best teammates to support your part of the effort?
  3. What is the way you will prioritize your work?
  4. How long will it take for you to complete your part of the project?
  5. What else do you need besides these instructions and this timeline?
  6. How can I help?
  7. When can you give me your outline?

Learn where and when to discuss emotions during times of change.

The more significant the change, the more angst; the more the difference is unclear or ignored, the more fear.

Change impacts attitudes, morale, loyalty, and incredible trust.

YOU need to be aware of the invisible factors that are at play. YET… if they become the main focus, you lose, they lose, and the organization loses. Here is what YOU MUST UNDERSTAND.

Childhood memories are activated during times of major change at work.

The change increases stress, and all childhood emotions surface when stress hits the hot button. What was learned in our original organization, the family, gets played out in the present organization at work.

Some employees have moved many times; others grew up and may still live in that house. Think about changing buildings and offices. Some are easy with this, while others have a tough time moving a few blocks away.

During times of change and stress, be aware of these intangible factors. Just as with the birth of a baby, you DO NOT spend inordinate amounts of time discussing the fears and upsets, even though you are aware they may well be from childhood patterns.

Instead….Give your employees the tools to begin seeing the invisible patterns causing distress and a means to transform them.

We offer to have employees take the free leadership behavior quiz and call us for a consultation.

Focus on the short-term benefits of the change and have resources available for the long-term reactions to the stress of change.

Accountability and Acknowledgment are the Twins that Win

Become the accountability model. If you mess up, say it. And always make sure that you are clear that change is messy and allow for a change of direction as needed. That will enable others to speak out about missteps.

NO JUBLA!!! All accountability is without judgment, blame, and attack. This is critical during times of change when the tendency is, as noted, to slip back into outdated patterns and no longer a fit for a highly functioning team.

Communication: bring your team together without a specific agenda every so often to keep everyone in the loop, leave time to air issues, and get to know each other better.

Give constant updates, so there is less to worry about… remember as a kid that the unknown was HUGE. For most of us as adults, it is still SCARY.

Give the team a sense of purpose and let them know that while change can be exhausting, there is always downtime and that you want their input to put it into the plan so no one burns out.

Let the team add to the future vision when the change settles down.

It is about you, it is about me, and it is about time.

Here’s to your success,

Sylvia Lafair

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Creative Energy Options

Sylvia Lafair

Creative Energy Options