Change is Inevitable
Not many things in life are inevitable. Even though we often fear it, change is one of the few things guaranteed in life.
In fact, many business gurus argue that businesses now face increased levels of dynamic change (change upon change upon change) due to stresses in our economies, societies and natural world leading to increased volatility in the business environment.
Often we see the world through threat-tinted glasses – fearful of stepping into the unknown beyond comforting predictability. This fear can cause rigidity and reduce our natural ability to innovate, transform and positively adapt (qualities fundamental if we are to survive let alone thrive in these volatile times).
Some organisations, teams of people and individuals seem better able to embrace change while others remain stubbornly resistant to change. Why is this?
Psychologists tend towards it being part of our way of viewing ourselves and the world around us. This is, on the one hand, affected by our inner conditioning based on past experiences which cause perceived barriers to or enablers for change; and on the other hand, affected by our relationships with the world around us: how our bosses, team members, family and friends embrace change, for instance.
If we would like our organisations (small or large) to be best suited to dynamic change, we need to set about creating the conditions conducive for change for the individuals and the organisation as a whole (within the context of its business ecosystem).
There are a multitude of tools, techniques, processes and ways to encourage an environment that is conducive to change.
Simple is sometimes best. In the words of Einstein ‘an intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex, it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction’.
Here are some simple guidelines to create conditions conducive to change (visit www.businessinspiredbynature.com if you would like to explore any of these guidelines further)
Engagement: For the level of change required, we need everyone fully engaged, working together and contributing fully and with energy.
Trust: In times which require performance under pressure, only teams with deep trust will thrive. When times get tough, knowing that your team is truly
‘on your side’ will get you through. Yet so often we know that organisations make short-sighted decisions in times of hardship that damage organisational trust.
Making Each Other Look Good: Just as nature thrives with diversity, so too do organisations. Operating from a ‘make each other look good’ mind-set ensures everyone contributes their diverse viewpoints and experience to assist the organisation as a whole as well as the parts.
Collaboration: Collaboration allows a combination of talents and energies to move forward and create realities that individually may not have been conceived of. Collaboration also encourages local attunement (decisions made effectively at a local level) which enhances the organisation’s agility and resilience.
Listening: How can you respond to a dynamic and complex environment if you don’t listen to everyone in the team and to the business environment you are operating in? Deep listening to the diverse inputs of the environment is key to successfully adapting to change.
Responding and Adapting as Changes Unfold: Plans don’t always unfold as expected. Being able to adapt in real time and respond to change as it unfolds instead of being rigidly stuck to ‘your plan’ is crucial.
Yes And: A simple technique you can try out for yourself today when interacting with colleagues or friends is starting each response with ‘Yes, and…’ rather than ‘No, but….’ Often we find ourselves engaging in discussion and sharing ideas with colleagues only to find ourselves feeling like we are competing for air-space or battling at cross purposes. The collaborative atmosphere seems to quickly convert to a competitive one – which is not great for encouraging positive adaptation to take root. Sense what happens when you listen and respond in a conversation. Often we respond with ‘no’, then follow up the ‘no’ with ‘but’. The ‘No, but’ response can immediately make the other person feel deflated and defensive as they can feel their viewpoint is negated and criticised. If, instead, we were to say ‘Yes, and…’ then the other is more open to listening to what you have to say and be open then to weaving/co-creating with your opinion (constructively critiquing and adding). The conversation pulls in positive energy, the defensiveness eases and the creative potential improves. A simple, yet very effective technique for creating the right conditions – it costs nothing and often results in less energy being wasted on defensive, competitive ego struggles.
Simple is best. Please try out the ‘yes and’ technique today when chatting with colleagues, friends and family…see how it works compared with the ‘no but’.
The more we become consciously aware of how we are engaging with others and how others respond to our engagement, the more we steer engagement and interaction in a positive way, enlightening ourselves and others and so helping a culture of change to take root – after all it is courage we need (not fear) and courage comes from being ‘en’couraged.