Archives for February 2010

Limiting Our Future Success

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My mother used to the say “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know”. How true – at least for me.

I like having options and recognize, at least intellectually, that growth and innovation lie beyond the comfort of my current ability. I’ll even admit that when Dr. Metts pointed out in our video blog that our future success is limited by our present success I nodded in agreement.

But, maybe like you, I’ve found myself staying in uncomfortable and negative situations too long because moving from the known to the unknown, and from the predictable to the uncertain seemed too risky. I was complacent.

In the workplace, I’m often asked to explain why people do the things they do and to find ways to make them either stop doing or start doing something different than what they’re currently doing. It’s harder for people to see this without an objective third party, but the results they’re experiencing with people is directly linked to what behaviors they’re rewarding. In essence they’re teaching people every day how to interact with them and what type of treatment they see as acceptable. Bad behavior isn’t something to be complacent in addressing – as a manager, leader, team member, spouse and or as a friend.

As you watch the complacency video, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do you agree that your current success is a limiting factor for your future success?

2. Are there any aspects of your current way of behaving, managing or leading that will not serve you long term or are not working well for you? If yes, how have you rewarded people for treating you this way?

3. Do you respond best to a positive picture of the future or a crisis in the current situation? Are your answers to question two creating a crisis, a positive future, or possibly both?

Deadly Sin #1 – Complacency

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Using Your Brain For A Change

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If you haven’t heard the news yet, it’s been proven that exercising and eating fruits and vegetables is better for us than sitting on the couch, watching television, and eating fast food.  This is bad news because it carries with it implications for the world of work – especially for managers and leaders responsible for change management.

Our brains know about the linkage between diet and exercise, but we rationalize and become complacent to the implications of the seven slices of Brie cheese and herb wrapped salami.  We utilize what I call “stinking thinking” from time to time – that’s where even with the best of intentions we discount and rationalize the implications of the Brie cheese and the herb wrapped salami.  “A little cheese and salami isn’t going to kill me!”

Is there a connection between how we think about diet and exercise and how we think about change in the workplace?  Absolutely!  Change involves moving from our current way of doing things to a newer hopefully more beneficial way of doing things, and involves stopping some things and starting others.

Health care professionals might ask, “how do we help sedentary people become more active?”  “How specifically do we get people who prefer fast food to eat more healthful meals?”  As managers and leaders we ask “how do we get employees to embrace change as opposed to fight it?”  “How do we get people to stop doing one thing and start another?”

The answer to those questions took me to Knoxville Tennessee to visit a friend of thirty-five years and Industrial Organizational Psychologist Vergil Metts.  He developed a corporate change program called the Seven Deadly Sins of Change and I wanted to learn more about how people change and bring what he’s learned back to my clients.

Over the course of the next two weeks I’m going to post seven video blogs that Dr. Metts and I recorded about each of the deadly sins.  I’m also going to blog about how each sin has shown up in my life and in the lives of my clients.  The reality is that every well-intentioned personal or organizational change effort will have to overcome the hurdles of these seven sins.

The blogs will demystify how people think about and approach change and what we as leaders and mangers can do to address it.  Check out the video blog for the first sin and let me know how active this sin has been in your own life and how you actively counteract it.

So, what’s the first sin?  It was mentioned in this post – the question is were you actively using your brain for a change?