I Don’t Believe It … Part 5


MYTH #5:  YOU CAN HIRE AN OUTSIDE EXPERT TO BE THE CHANGE AGENT

Well, this one hurts a little:) … As someone who styles themselves as an external “wise guy” who can help facilitate change, part of me wants to shout “Except me!   Hire me!“.

However, a small amount of reflection tells me this myth is alive and well.  I have experienced first-hand the emotions and conflict around bringing in outside experts who turn out to have only a well-honed presentation style and sales pitch, but who ultimately do not help the organization change.   Well, they do influence change, but not for the better.

Actually, the best external consultants have one specific focus:  Making the team or organization healthy and effective enough to fire them.

When someone has invested significant effort to making themselves appear very necessary to an organization, changing that earlier perception is hard to do … unless the outside expert is very good at their work and really understands the role of the facilitator.

The best summation of the argument against this myth presented in the book is this statement:

“The best position to lead teams out of resistance is the position that has the authority to hold the team accountable and support the team in overcoming resistance.”

This deceptively straight-forward statement has several inferences which I firmly believe about leadership, teams, and change.

 

AUTHORITY MATTERS …

We can talk all day about leading from wherever you are in the organizational structure, but being in a position with authority facilitates doing so ~ if the person with the position uses it for positive growth.

One very damaging tacit assumption in this myth is that we cannot handle change ourselves, but must turn to some outside source, who will magically do what we poor mortals were unable to do.

An outside expert can offer tools and perspective.  They can skillfully lead groups to discover what they already know and help them make their goals become accomplishments.  They are contributors, but not necessarily leaders.

 ACCOUNTABILITY MATTERS …

We are often good at stating what should happen and why, but we also sometimes forget to add what will happen as a result

Accountability is not established by statements like “Violations of this policy will result in significant disciplinary action, up to and including termination.”  That’s no accountability, that’s legalese in HR clothing.

Accountability is when both the negative and positive possible outcomes are clearly delineated, along with the full range of specific responses.

Of course, then you have to actually follow through by making what you say will happen … well, happen:)

SUPPORT MATTERS …

As noted above, accountability includes not just clearly stating and enforcing standards and expectations, but also has to do with identifying what and who is working, reward that behavior, and nurture more of it.  

This implies an ongoing role for those who lead and manage in an organization to support and nurture the momentum of positive change.

After all, these are the people who have the institutional knowledge and engagement to be the change agents … they just need the right tools.

If I had unlimited space and you had unlimited attention, we could discuss the essential role of organizational culture in all this, but that’s a topic for another day.

Looking inside for strength and wisdom in the Heartland ….

John

 

BACKGROUND:

Reut Schwartz-Hebron of the Key Change Institute discusses five myths in her recently published book  “The Art and Science of Changing People Who Don’t Want to Change”. 
 
This post is number 5 in a short series based on this great new resource for those of us who work with people and change.  Click on the titles to read:
Part 1 – Personalities are fixed
Part 2 – Belief that more information and better logic will change people
 Part 3 – For people to change, they first have to trust the change agent
Part 4 – It’s best to avoid resistance unless it’s actively blocking progress

I Don’t Believe It … Part 4


MYTH #4:  IT’S BEST TO AVOID RESISTANCE UNLESS IT’S ACTIVELY BLOCKING PROGRESS

I once spent six months totally focused on training a corporate headquarters and regional staff on a very comprehensive personal productivity system.  For almost everyone, this marked a complete change in how they handled paper documents, files, archives, computer data, and their daily work routines.

Thus I learned some things about resistance . . . 

Resistance can be in-your-face overt or devilishly passive.

Resistance never happens for its own sake.  Something else is always driving the behavior.

Resistance is energy.   Sometimes energy destroys and sometimes energy creates.  It’s all in how you deal with it.

Reut Schwartz-Hebron (see notes below) approaches resistance as a lack of skills on the part of those who resist.  When you lack control, you will try to regain control by whatever means are available.  

Sometimes you pick up the right tool and can use it effectively.  More often, you choose the tool which is available, but wrong … and things go south.

 “Resistance itself is a representation of the strategies people are missing.”

“The solution for resistance isn’t to ignore it.  The best way to deal with resistance is to equip teams with the strategies that will remove resistance at its core.”

So we always returns to the idea that people changing need new and different Key Strategies to be successful.  More on this later.

Considering how to resist resistance in the Heartland ….

John

 
 
 
BACKGROUND:
Reut Schwartz-Hebron of the Key Change Institute discusses five myths in her recently published book  “The Art and Science of Changing People Who Don’t Want to Change”. 
 
This post is number 4 in a short series based on this great new resource for those of us who work with people and change.  Click on the titles to read Part 1Part 2 and Part 3.

I Don’t Believe It … Part 3


MYTH #3:  For People To Change, They First Need to Trust the Change Agent

Well, this one is interesting …

How often have we heard that trust is at the very core of business relationships, social relationships, and a good marriage?  If your experience is anything like mine has been, the answer is “A whole lot”.


“Trust will come if the right strategies are put in place and if the experience of getting people to acquire those strategies justifies trust”

An interesting corollary to this is the idea that we do not have to first win the hearts and minds of people to have change, we just have to get them to change.  In other words

“You can achieve desired outcomes without initial trust, even if you force change.”

Of course, the word “initial” is very key here.  People can be made to do things because you have authority to make them do those things, you can either reward or punish them in the process, and because they may not feel like they have any choice in the matter.

You have to establish trust ~ the variable here is when trust-building occurs.

As people build skills, they become more confident.  They trust themselves to handle the dynamics of change.  

See, it’s not about trusting YOU,

it’s about trusting THEMSELVES:)

Deciding who and how I trust in the Heartland….

John

BACKGROUND:
Reut Schwartz-Hebron of the Key Change Institute discusses five myths in her recently published book  “The Art and Science of Changing People Who Don’t Want to Change”. 
 
This post is number 3 in a short series based on this great new resource for those of us who work with people and change.  Click on the titles to read Part 1 and Part 2.
 

I Don’t Believe It … Part 1


FIVE MYTHS about resistance to change … Only Five?

Well, Reut Schwartz-Hebron, the guiding light of the Key Change Institute only lists five myths in her recently published and awfully helpful book  “The Art and Science of Changing People Who Don’t Want to Change”. 

However, Reut has created a Very Good List of Five …

This week, I’ll be taking a look at each one.  I’ll blend Reut’s messages with some of my own thoughts and experiences.

Myth #One:  Personalities Are Fixed

Personality is often thought of as composed of “enduring” characteristics.  In other words, how those who know us longest describe us.   As the thinking goes, a sensitive child grows into a sensitive adult.

We are the way we are … like it or lump it:) 

We experience other’s personalities as fixed for several reasons:

1)       We’ve been taught that personality is established before we can speak and stays the same throughout our life.  As good students, we learned this lesson well, looked for evidence that reinforces it, and repeat it so often, that we think it’s true.

 Sometimes saying makes it so … or so we think.

 2)      We mistake resistance for inability to change.  When people do not want to change, they resist and will do so ferociously and sometimes without reason.  Even when the change is good in the long-term, they resist now.   Resistance can be a very strong attribute of a person’s work environment, especially when leaders and managers do not approach change from a thoughtful and proactive stance.

Resistance is a temporary condition, not a permanent attribute.

 3)      We give too much power to habit.  Habit can be strong, as we tend to reinforce what we already do or know neurologically.  We strengthen synaptic messages by repetition, so what is familiar grows stronger over time.  Think about how easily we do many of our daily tasks.  Now think about work tasks we have done repeatedly for years or decades.  Habit is strong.

We know what we have always done or thought.

 4)      We do not know about or appreciate the current concept of plasticity, which simply means the brain is capable of rewiring itself throughout life.  Plasticity is like other characteristics in that the more we use this ability, the easier this ability is to use. 

Reinforcement is the key – choose to reinforce new and different concepts and attitudes and extinguish old ones.

Reut’s solution for this myth:  Create new “Key Strategies” tailored to the changes that people need to make.

 More on how to identify and implement key strategies later, … but you  start with the belief that people’s personalities can and do change, at least enough to make organizational change possible.

 Another myth tomorrow.

Considering how I’ve changed and what still needs work in the Heartland ….

John

Change is as Change Does . . .


I learned to ride a bike without outside motivation because I wanted to change.

The Lead Change group on LinkedIn is one of the best collections of current thinkers and actors in leadership development “on the ground” that I know of.  A recent post by Tristan Bishop on Change and Resistance is a good example of clear and compelling content and solid reflection on one of a leader’s most essential qualities:  the ability to manage change.

While  reflecting on the content and responding to Tristan, a thought occurred to me:  Change is not always about resistance.

Okay, no ground-breaking activity here . . . move along if you are looking for A New Insight.   Continue reading