Why do some people think that change can be bad for their career?

When workplace change is announced, some people assume it will mean their career progression is taken off course – but is that always the case?

In our podcast, Ricky and Richard discuss how combating your initial reaction can help you to embrace the opportunities that change presents and even use them to benefit your career.

Change often means uncertainty – what if the change that’s coming doesn’t match up to how you see your career mapping out? Perhaps you’re happy with where you are, or you know the steps you need to take to reach your career goal. Change may take you in a different direction and leave you feeling unsettled.

Fear of the unknown triggers an emotional reaction and can lead to soul-searching. But instead of allowing your emotions to take hold, Ricky and Richard discuss how you can take control of your reaction to what lies ahead. If you feel confident in your own ability and where your skills lie, you can find a way to have a positive impact.

Essentially, instead of seeing change as a threat, look at it as an opportunity.

Recognise that your initial reaction will be concern, which is only natural. Depending on the scale and nature of the change, you may feel shock or fear. Our brains are programmed to feel comfortable with the status quo and, when something disrupts that, we fear loss – losing colleagues, losing the type of work we’re used to and so on – rather than anticipating gain.

Ricky and Richard remind you to have an open mind to what is being proposed, rather than making negative assumptions and looking for evidence to back them up. Embrace the ways in which you can be part of the change and even benefit from it. The steps you need to take may not be the ones you imagined, but you can plan out new steps and even find a better goal than you had initially.

Why do some people think an emotional response will get them what they want?

Emotions are a normal part of change but in the workplace some people believe an emotional response will allow them to get their own way. In our podcast, Richard and Rob explore why this happens and how managers can respond when emotions are running high.

There are times in the workplace when some people think stamping their feet and shouting loud enough will get them what they want. In the podcast, Richard and Rob discuss how change can often trigger an emotional reaction and this is completely normal. In some cases, it can even be helpful as it may be a way of releasing the pressure people feel they are under.

They go onto explore how given time most people will arrive at a more considered and rationale response where they can start to make sense of the situation. Richard explains how it’s useful to get clarity about what is happening and to surround ourselves with people who are a positive influence. It’s helpful to recognise an emotional reaction as normal, write down everything that’s going through the mind and then question whether our perceptions are real. An emotional response might be triggered because our view of the future has been threatened and is different to our imagined version.

Rather than stewing in an emotional state, Richard and Rob examine how we should seek out answers to any questions and gain greater clarity about the situation. By bringing back a level of control, we can make plans, help to re-direct things and search for meaning.

The pair summarise their discussion by exploring how leaders and managers have an important role to play when it comes to being aware of other people’s behaviours and offering support.

So, what’s holding YOU back?

In May 2016, my world turned upside down.  The business I worked for collapsed financially leaving 19 people and me out of work.

Left with little option and no job to go to, three of my colleagues and I set up Thinking Focus.  Now, eighteen months on, I can’t tell you what a blast we are having.

We work all over the globe with our clients to change their world for the better; we turn light bulbs on, we get such satisfaction knowing that we play a small part in their success.

The thing is though, what was it that stopped me from doing it sooner?  I can come up with a whole host of reasons or excuses, some circumstantial, such as a young family, maybe a lack of confidence, comfortable in the corporate world, a need for security but in short, I didn’t have the kahunas!

I recently listened to a podcast; it’s by NPR and a series called How I Built This.  A series of inspiring stories from entrepreneurs and how they turned their business idea into hugely successful businesses.  One episode, in particular, really resonated with us. Jim Koch, co-founder and Chairman of the Boston Beer Company, explains how he left his uninspiring cushy corporate job and went on to help kickstart the craft beer movement in America.  Jim shares his mindset behind a pivotal decision which most people saw as a high-risk decision.

Jim uses a lens of scary versus dangerous; he uses a climbing analogy to explain as he contrasts them; scary is when you repel from a cliff, but the fact you are secured with a belay rope which can hold a car doesn’t make it dangerous.  He then compares that to walking over a 35° snowfield in late May where the melting snow could easily cause an avalanche – not scary but highly dangerous.  He sums up by saying that not leaving his corporate job was dangerous, the risk of looking back at retirement, having spent that time doing something that made him unhappy, that sense of OMG, I have wasted my life was to Jim, the most dangerous of all.  I wish I’d spoken to Jim earlier in my career, but hey, I am now doing what I love!

Jim’s story inspired us to develop our Scary or Dangerous model.  Our clients find it useful when making decisions, they can qualify their understanding behind their hesitation.

scary dangerous

We use it too. We ask ourselves the same questions when we are hesitant about a key decision.

Comfort Zone

  • Does this feel scary or dangerous, if neither, we are likely to be in our comfort zone, where’s the fun and opportunity in that?

Reckless Zone

  • What is the level of risk, really? This is a test of delusion, we will know in our heart of hearts the level of risk, are we equipped to do this; do we have (or can we get) the funds, the knowledge and/or skills? If in doubt get a second or third opinion.  Are we in the reckless zone?

Crazy Zone

  • What level of discomfort are we feeling about this, is this both scary and dangerous? If so, we need to calibrate this in some way to reduce the discomfort.  You are officially crazy!

Growth Zone

  • Does this offer opportunity to develop and move forward, it may feel scary but is it dangerous, a little scary is good, it means we try and test to understand our limits to build confidence and accelerate.

Another year is almost complete and if you, like me, use this time of year to reflect on your year and think about where you’re headed, do you feel a sense of clarity, fulfilment and excitement or are you caught in that scary versus dangerous dilemma holding you back from what you really, really want to be doing?

Now imagine you are about to retire, go ahead, ask yourself the killer question; did I do what really makes me happy?  If not, you get a do-over to make the change but do it, you won’t regret it!

 

 

Why do some people think that if they ignore change it will go away?

 

Some people don’t like change but ignoring it won’t make life any easier.

In our podcast, Rob and Rich discuss how it’s possible to deal with change in a positive way.

When it comes to change, it’s common for people to pretend it’s not happening and carry on regardless. In the podcast, Rob and Rich discuss how change can be uncomfortable and disconcerting but it’s often the uncertainty of the situation that is the route of the problem.

Asking ourselves if we see change as a negative or as an opportunity can help. Rob explains if you find yourself in a position where change is afoot, the best approach is to try to separate fact from fiction. We should aim to discover the facts to achieve greater understanding and certainty. Getting the right information and clarification in a proactive way is important. After all, uncertainty really means that we have questions on our minds which need to be answered.

Rob and Rich go onto explore the role leaders have to play in an organisation. Many people are naturally unsettled by change and it’s possible to support them by asking the right questions. Consideration needs to be given to communicating the right information in the right way and repeating it a number of times if necessary.

The pair conclude their discussion by looking at how we can try to achieve a mind shift when the issue of change arises. Essentially, the key is to embrace the opportunities change can bring rather than focusing on the negative aspects.

The Thinking Focus: The Question Is podcast series is available to download on ITunes.

Isn’t it time you changed how you recruit?

Recruiters are lazy!  There, I have said it.  It is all too easy to fill your vacancy with the same type of person, same skills and knowledge that you had before – but is that really what you want?

Recruiting for change

I would argue that the current pace of change in business renders technical knowledge and skills redundant all too quickly. On the other hand, if you recruit for attitude, behaviours and mindset, these will stand the test of time.

The challenge faced by businesses who adopt a rinse and repeat approach to recruitment is that they retain the same thinking, same actions and – you guessed it – the same results!

If all that sounds familiar, you’re hopefully thinking that the way you recruit needs a bit of a shake up.

So, how can you change the way you recruit?

I am currently working with a client that is really struggling to recruit the right individuals. It’s easy enough to decide that you want to recruit for attitude and mindset and even easier – I hope – to understand why you would want to do that and how your business will benefit.

I developed a series of questions to help my client explore how an applicant demonstrates how well they adapt, their strength of resilience and most importantly how they learn (and grow) from failure.

If you would like a copy of them, just email me (ricky.muddimer@thinkingfocus.com) and I will gladly send them over.

As Apple’s Dan Jacobs once said: “You are better with a hole in your team than an asshole!”

 

Why is thinking so important to business?

 

Thinking underpins everything we do, driving the actions we take which deliver the results we get, yet most people just take thinking for granted.

Ricky and Richard explore how Thinking can have an impact on driving better results, showing how taking control of your thinking can deliver different results.

 

It’s fair to say many of us take the power of thinking for granted. In the podcast, Ricky and Richard discuss how thinking fundamentally affects our actions or inactions. The challenge arises when our thinking isn’t getting the results we would like to see. This could be evidence the team or business isn’t heading in quite the right direction.

Ricky and Richard consider how we need to ask ourselves questions. Are the actions we are taking, as a result of our thinking, working in reality? It’s all too easy to get caught in a loop where we keep doing the same things but somehow expect the results to change. As the pair explain, if we want to see a change in the outcome, we need to change the quality of our thinking.

We also need to ask questions of ourselves that help us to think differently. After all, our subconscious and the long-standing habits we have formed over many years will be having an impact. To drive a different set of results, we need to be asking ourselves a new set of questions and trying to create some new habits. Even if a business has the same products or processes as before, by challenging people’s thinking it’s possible to come up with a new way of doing things and get better results.

Ricky and Richard wrap up their discussion by exploring how in a work environment, the natural focus is often on the output. Thinking is essentially an input and by examining our thinking and collaborating with others, we can increase our chances of success.

The Thinking Focus: The Question Is podcast series is available to download on ITunes.

5 mistakes when implementing change

Do you wonder why organisational change feels so hard? Why do people react poorly? Why does the original business case for the change seem to get lost? Why has the scope changed so dramatically to the original plan? These are all too common questions in the world of organisational change. At the heart are five easily preventable mistakes.

The secret when implementing change in organisations is to recognise that it is your people who will determine whether your plan is a success.

1. Are your leaders aligned with the change?

All too often change can be undermined by senior leaders. They will be seen to lack enthusiasm; they may even distance themselves from the change or worse behave in a contradictory manner. People are great at spotting misalignment and even better at working out how to play it to their advantage.

2. What are we supposed to be working on?

Businesses are ambitious in their goals. Shareholders demand a return; executives have egos to maintain and a requirement to maintain or keep ahead of the competition. Add to the mix external stakeholders (government, regulators or similar) imposing their will on the business and how they believe it should operate. Confusion reigns amongst your people on what are the priorities and which are the important ones. Even worse when competing priorities emerge, the battle commences for essential resources.

3. Imposition or involvement?

Having made the strategic or tactical decision to change how you engage your people will determine your success. Business is both busy and demanding; it expected the results yesterday. It is all too easy to focus solely on the execution of the plan. Being able to tick off the task on the project plan is one thing, but the lasting effects can be both costly and ultimately fail due to the lack of adoption by the end user.

4. Why do we measure the wrong things?

We all know that businesses move at a fast pace. A symptom is failing to track the impact of the changes implemented. Success gets measured in the execution of the project. The reason for the change gets lost and the impact not measured. Ineffective change represents an enormous hidden cost. Benefits are unrealised due to lack of engagement, employee resistance, and worse, workarounds (the way we have always done it/the way we prefer to do it) are created.

5. Why does it feel like everyone wants a say?

It’s important to decide who you will involve, why you are including them in the process and how you will engage both internal and external stakeholders as getting this wrong can create landmines. Is there agreement on their level of involvement? If not, you will find yourself spending a disproportionate amount of time managing fallout and not advancing your project.