Sunday, November 3, 2019

3 Undeniable Truths That Sabotage Change - Do You Recognize Them?

Ever heard the phrase "change is hard'?

I think there is a bit of a misunderstanding about that phrase. In reality there is a range of "change capabilities". Depending on the context, change can be in an instant or permanent change can take time.

I've learned over the years that change can be immediate, but transformation... does takes time. And this is a crucial mind-set for leaders when trying to achieve operational change of any kind. Unrealistic expectations lead to lots of unnecessary stress and poor planning and can waste time, money and talent.

So, What About Change is Hard?
What is hard...really what leads up to change. Getting to the point of change is the tough part. Here's what I mean.

In the work I do, helping companies achieve better results through leadership and management development, I help decision-makers get to the point of deciding to initiate their benefit.

Even with all the evidence and constant discussion about the epidemic of incompetent or bad managers and with virtually everyone agreeing that good managers are needed...getting decision-makers to the decision of employing management training is tough. If it wasn't, it'd be pervasive. In fact, almost every company would have it as a part of their business development plan.

But we know that just is not happening. Ever wondered why?

Think about it for a moment. Why is the decision to do something so obviously needed so difficult to do?

Well, the ultimate answer I believe is fear. But there's more. And the more... are 3 undeniable truths about change. I call them "change saboteurs".

1. Decision-Makers are Caught in a Trance
If you looked up the concept of trance, you'd find a variety of definitions. The one that best applies here is numb to current realities because of conditioned acceptance. This means current reality - status quo - is acceptable and's the way it's suppose to be - the way it's done - so don't look for alternatives.

In the world of leadership and management training, under the umbrella of HR, there is a conditioned way of seeing things, how it's approached, the role it plays in business development and management.

Unfortunately, professional practices reinforces the trance and additionally reinforces a huge disconnect between the compelling need for training and development and it's direct, positive impact to profitable business operations and growth.

What if management and leadership training was not under the HR umbrella at all, and placed as a common planned and practiced activity under the umbrella of business management and development?

Consider this ...if most folks in an industry reinforce a trance with what's typical, how is there hope for real innovation and change?

An undeniable change saboteur - we operate under industry trances. For substantial change - true transformation to occur...

We have to be able to think way beyond the box, we have to think outside the trance.

So an important question for an individual decision-maker would be, if you don't know you're caught up in an industry trance - how would you develop the awareness to change it? You know that saying, "You don't know what you don't know."

2. Trust Requires Risk & That's Tough
They say in marketing that people do business with whom they like and trust. Well, what if there is no one in your trust circle that has the capabilities to meet a business need. What if everyone in your trust circle is under the same trance as you? Then what? Perhaps you could seek a referral for an "outsider"? But then, would you trust them?

Therein lies the next dilemma, finding someone to help...someone that you would have to risk trusting. Most of us are not open to trusting outsiders, particularly when that outsider offers information beyond our initial understanding. They're strangers and we're not good at being easily accepting of "outside" information...generally for good reason. But that doesn't serve us well in every case.

Trust is scary...risk is scary...which for many makes getting help hard. So, here's another change saboteur...some would rather suffer than risk trusting.  

And...what if you ran across someone who you could potentially trust, but recommended something way outside the "accepted" practice? Then what?

3. Fear of An Unknown Loss Cripples
And finally our 3rd change saboteur is fear of an unknown or perceived, anticipated loss. When finally presented with the opportunity for help, it typically comes wrapped in the dreaded cloak of change. And since change suggests risk, it also presents facing potential loss. Risk by its nature infers the possibility of loss.

Let's face it, fear of loosing is embedded in our human DNA. Nobody likes it, nobody wants to experience it, claim it, be subjected to it. We don't want to loose anything - tangible or, time, talent, pride, confidence, you name it.

Decision-makers in particular have to carry the shame of it because the impact is beyond them as individuals. It usually carries with it a ripple effect. Nothing is worse than making a bad decision as a leader and then having to walk the cubicle row of shame everyday until the pang of injury to all subsides.

You have to be willing to loose to gain. It's a business and life lesson for sure.
Many decision-makers have difficultly with this.

This is where many leaders develop FOS - fear of spending when it comes to "soft skills" development initiatives. They fear they will be wasting money. In fact their current pain seems less than the pain of the anticipated loss.

In some respects it becomes the battle of the pains...whichever is the lessor at any given moment is the one that will be held onto.

So, if you are a key decision-maker in a business and you are even remotely aware of areas that need improvement and yet no action has been taken, no progress has been to address them, ask yourself how these 3 saboteurs apply to you and/or your leadership team. 

One of the most tortuous conditions in leadership - for you and your employees - is to desire change and yet keep undermining any effort - for whatever the reasons - to pursue it.

For Your Consideration
If you want to have a conversation about what you're thinking, schedule a 30 min. Q&A call. As a fellow business-owner/ entrepreneur and HR professional, I'm here to help. We have 4 entrepreneurs in our immediate family. Trust me, I do a lot of listening.

Learn more about the work we do an how we can help. Click here for tons of info.

Exciting News: We are migrating to a 90% virtual company so that we can be available to help more people. As of Nov. 1 - we officially launched Manage Global. Our #1 focus will be to help leaders and their HR partners implement smart management practices through our unique lens of human behavior science.We've formulated them into an easy to follow blueprint. Developing competent management is one of the top challenges of companies, no matter the size. Our goal is to help them do so in a reliable, sustainable way. Not one dollar is wasted with our blueprint! Learn more here.

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