“I don’t think he is being honest with us…”
“I just don’t trust her…”
1) Highlight strengths.
Attract and engage employees, then help them develop and make the most of their strengths. Focusing on strengths will provide personal satisfaction as well as increased contributions to the workplace bottom line. Be sure to validate the team's work and their potential future impact. Validating people has a progressive power as people step into ownership of their
2) Promote ownership.
Help them find ownership in a common vision. Learn what really matters to the individuals on the team and make that part of your motivation strategy. As they learn to take ownership, encourage them by showing authentic humility and respect toward their efforts.
3) Emphasize curiosity.
Cultivate curiosity and a life-long learning organizational culture. Set the example by showing that you are teachable and desire to learn from everyone. People will follow your leading in this and the learning environment that results will reduce stress through acceptance and increase understanding and respect within your team.
" There are big changes on our company horizon, and we want to be as proactive about these changes as we can. What hints would you give us?"
If you are trying to make a change happen, understanding the change process is helpful in letting you know what type of resistance you might encounter from others who are involved. You then can understand how to help move them through the process so that they ultimately accept the change. The following steps should help you help others navigate change.
"I currently work in a company that is going through a big change and the process seems chaotic. How can I help my team move forward in the process instead of standing by and watching the change happen?"
As Margaret Mead wisely counsels: “If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.”
After going through the first step of understanding the very real losses that people feel when navigating a change, helping people find a sense of personal control in the chaos will help. Change will always be a part of life and our ability to move through it in a healthy way is critical. Understanding the change process and our ability to make choices in the midst of change will allow us to move through it and give us that element of control. This is true even if we did not choose the change.
During change, the point of critical choices people have the ability to make are the decisions to move forward, accept the change and identify what aspects they can control. If this decision is not made, people will stay in a very unhealthy place of loss, uncertainty and discomfort. Movement away from discomfort in the loss and toward the anticipation of what will happen as a result of the change hinges upon these choices. Accepting the change often requires a conscious choice to accept the change and move forward. It does not necessarily mean the person agrees with the change or thinks it is the best course.
However, the choice to accept the change does mean that the person is no longer at the mercy of the change. It means as they move through the change, they will investigate how the change can bolster what they are doing, how it may encourage them to grow in their leadership, and how it may stretch their understanding of their strengths. On the other hand, staying in limbo and indecision will do nothing for their understanding of the new work roles or the future success of their career.
Once we make the decision to accept the change, things begin to move in a positive direction:
- There is a new energy as we begin to imagine how the change can be a part of our personal mission, leadership, and empowerment
of our teams.
An understanding of the point of critical choice helps minimize the negative effects of the process, helps us see where we might get stuck, and helps us take control to keep moving through the process instead of getting mired in uncertainty and the very real discomfort of going through change.
"I currently work in a company that is going through a big change. The tension and the anxiety are almost palpable. What is a good first step in understanding why this situation is so stressful and what can I do about it?"
The most common error in managing change is underestimating the affect it has on people. Many leaders think if they just tell their employees to change, they will. They do not realize how upsetting it is to give up familiar work patterns. Always remember the potential impact of disruption and allow time for adjustment.
First, recognize the losses that occur with a big change. Regardless of how positively the change is embraced, there is always a loss of something. This is the nature of change – one thing stops so another thing can begin. When a change is first put into place, people are likely uncertain what the effects of the change will be. Because of this, they may be cautious and possibly become stalled as they think about how these losses will affect them. There are several types of loss that are common in the work place.
Each of the losses described has a cost. Any type of loss, even of a work space or familiar technology, can trigger an emotional response that resembles grief. As a leader, you will need to help your team members move past these losses and to accept and move forward in the new direction. People who do not display any feeling of loss often save it up and become overcome by a seemingly small transition. It is healthier to express and acknowledge loss when it occurs so those involved can move through the transition process more quickly.
Is your team continually meeting status quo and upholding tried and true norms, but feeling stuck? It may be time to initiate change.
I know, I said the "C" word, but don't go running just yet. "Change" has gotten a bad reputation. Organizations and leaders alike often see change as a necessary evil and something to be avoided until it is forced by circumstance. When given the choice of initiating change and assuming the potential risks that come with it or maintaining a current familiar path, often the familiar will win out. However, take a look at today's cutting edge organizations -- the ones at the forefront of their industries. They are not hiding from change. In fact, they are embracing it! They are intentional about incorporating healthy change into their culture and are leveraging the innovation, energy and momentum to become leaders in their fields. They are shattering stagnation.
In an article by Forbes, The World's Most Innovative Companies of 2016, among the top 100 were such recognizable names as Tesla, Under Armour, Amazon, Netflix and others. There are also many names you might be less familiar with such as Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Naver, Rakuten, AmerisourceBergen, and others. What do these companies all have in common? They embrace change. They innovate. They shatter stagnation.
Below is a simple seven step process to help your team initiate healthy change and shatter stagnation in your organization:
Look carefully at challenges or stagnant places your team is facing. Leave your preconceived notions behind. Look at things with fresh eyes. Take this opportunity to learn -- about where you are currently, about where the industry is and about where you would like to go. Collect as much information as possible. This could be through conducting focus groups, taking surveys, or interviewing current and potential clients or customers. This might also be through attending industry trainings or conventions and studying current trends. This is your chance to learn about what is happening internally and externally.
Form a group of people who represent each team involved in the process or initiative being discussed. It is also good to represent differing viewpoints from various leadership levels. The more well rounded the input the better. This is the time to take all you learned in the "Analyze" step and combine it with experience and perspective. Create ideas and strategies to transform your learning into potential changes to implement. Make this a safe environment to hear and explore all ideas.
Take the ideas generated throughout the process thus far, particularly in the collaboration stage, and use them to formulate a streamlined, simplified, clear plan. You will have undoubtedly developed numerous possibilities by this point in the process. Now is the time to determine which ideas make the most sense for your team. In filtering through the options ask several questions such as: Which ideas fit your vision and mission? Which align with your current strategy? Which will take you where you are trying to go? Which fit your desired corporate culture? Which make sense in terms of time and money? By the end of this step you should have developed a clear streamlined plan.
Once the new process is determined, it is important to clearly and consistently communicate the reason for the change, the goal of the change and the details of implementation. It is important to gain buy-in from all levels of the team. In order to do that, you must be clear and open with information. Remember, by this point you have likely been considering this change and the reasons for it for months. However, not everyone on your team has. Give them time to process. Help them understand their role. Give them opportunities to respond, give feedback and ask questions.
This is the stage when the team involved will be putting into practice the items that till now have just been ideas and theories. It is bringing into practice
the new ideas. This is where the"rubber meets the road," so to speak. This is also where many teams get stuck. Talking about a change is one thing,
but acting on the change is another. Following the plan you so clearly communicated in the previous step, help the team make the necessary adjustments.
Once you have implemented the change, take time to learn and make adjustments as needed. You may notice that ideas on paper might need a little tweaking when put into action. This is an important step in the process.
Following any adjustments, begin to standardize the process and role it out on a larger scale. This is where the change becomes fully integrated into the day to day. This will likely take some time, but you can help your team by demonstrating your commitment to the new. As you lead by confidently stepping into the change, your team will follow.
Remember to celebrate the dedication, hard work and accomplishments of the team. This step is easy to overlook, but don't. Your team needs to know that they are seen and appreciated. This step can take on numerous forms, depending on your corporate culture. Regardless of what it looks like, be sure to use this time to appreciate and inspire your team.
Don't settle for status quo. Don't get stuck in the norm. Use these seven simple steps to shatter stagnation in your organization.
What is distance mentoring?
Distance mentoring is just as it sounds, mentoring across a distance. Some of the reasons this type of mentoring occurs are: a) one or both mentoring participants
travel frequently; b) the mentoring partners live/work in different areas of the city, state, country, or world, or; 3) the person with the desired
expertise/learning does not reside in close proximity.
Is it really mentoring?
Yes, the true power and effectiveness of mentoring comes from consistent accountability and encouragement given to mentees as they work on personal and professional goals. Mentors can hold mentees accountable and encourage them over a distance. If the mentoring pair has a clear commitment to the expectations and goals of the arrangement and is dedicated to promoting a progressive relationship, distance mentoring can be a powerful learning tool.
Is it a last option or a valid strategy?
In the past, many mentoring pairs saw this as a last option—it was the only way to create the learning situation they desired if they did not reside near their mentoring partner. Now, many see that distance mentoring offers a host of new learning opportunities and helpful/strategic relationships to explore. Since the number and type of mentors and mentees we can have is limited only by our time constraints and ability to commit to the relationship, distance mentoring is being recognized as an opportunity for more than one learning experience.
How time consuming is it?
This depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If you want to learn one skill – that is relatively simple. An informal mentoring relationship lasting only a few meetings is appropriate. If you are seeking mentoring for a more complicated skill set, character development, or work/life integration support then a longer and more regularly scheduled situation is more fitting. The most important aspect to mapping out the time commitment is to discuss the goals thoroughly and set clear expectations regarding length, time span, frequency and intensity of distance meetings.
Can I really build a relationship with my mentoring partner over a distance?
Because communication is the strongest face to face, it is helpful to meet in person with your mentoring partner at least once during your relationship. But if this is not possible, follow best practices for building relationship and communicating across distance. (See the article 6 Best Practices for Mentoring Across Distance for additional insight). Practices like using video conferencing options whenever possible, being prepared for your interactions, engaging regularly, etc. will support a strong distance mentoring relationship.
Distance mentoring, or mentoring without consistent face-to-face meetings, is becoming more than just a necessary evil. Companies are now seeing the benefits of this paradigm and are crafting strategies to make the most of the advantages. They are finding it to be a potentially powerful strategy for helping people develop. The best person to be your mentor may not be in close proximity. With the advantages of today’s electronic media, we can access relationships and learning that was not possible years ago. Distance mentoring can be an effective strategy particularly for global companies.
Distance mentoring has a number of benefits. Consider the following:
Understanding and addressing the challenges of distance mentoring will add to its success. Address these early:
Assume the best and if something does not seem right address it quickly. Verify your communication and make sure that what you meant to say is what your partner understood (and that you understand the meaning behind what your partner communicates to you).
Yes, there are challenges to developing a mentoring relationship through the span of distance. However, these are greatly overshadowed by the benefits that can be realized through distance mentoring.
Before you attempt distance mentoring, check your beliefs and feelings about this strategy. If you’re stalling, you may need to make a paradigm shift in your thoughts and emotions. Choose to recognize distance mentoring as a viable strategy, build enthusiasm for it, and find ways to maximize its benefits and reduce its disadvantages.
A common concern many people have about mentoring is finding a mentor. This issue may seem irrelevant if you are participating in a company sponsored mentoring initiative where you will be paired up with a mentor or mentee, but the truth is, even if you are “paired” up now, mentoring is something you should do in all areas of your life throughout your entire life. There will be times when you will need to know how to ask someone to mentor you. Finding a mentor is not difficult, however, it does take some intentionality, and yes, you may be turned down, but don’t let apprehensions prevent you from pursuing this learning opportunity. The benefits you will receive are too vast to pass it up.
Here are a 7 simple steps you can follow to help you find a mentor.
1. Decide to be intentional. Don’t just sit back and expect someone to come to you. Choose to put your desire for specific learning into action through the following steps.
Now it’s your turn. Write down your plan to address each of these 7 steps. Choose to be intentional today.
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