Tag Archives: Change_management

Culture Shock & Other Things

Creating change is easy  (ok not that easy, but easier…).  Sustaining change, is hard.

I can cut my hair, quit my job, jump on the wagon, scrap all my systems, decide on new systems, all quite easily.  Sustaining these changes well is a whole different story.

Implementing a new process in to a business I have decided is a whole lot like losing weight.  With a goal in sight and sheer determination just about anyone can lose weight.  It’s exciting seeing the change and the benefit… enough to make the pain worth it.  But once you’ve hit your goal, a lifetime of bad habits and comfort-based behaviours start creeping in.   Before you know it life takes over and we’ve slipped back to what we know best or are most familiar with.  Of course this will at some point cause us to blame the process (or in this example whatever fad diet we got the results with) leading us to select another process – and we’re off again.  Change has to be sustainable.

Change in the workplace is similar.  We have a problem, so we find a solution, implement and often voila! we get results.  But over time we slip back in to our old habits, back to whatever is most comfortable.  My advice?  Don’t ignore the steps required to make change sustainable, and don’t ditch the process when things go a little wobbly for a new, shinier process (unless yours really is awful).  Consistency in an organisation can be a real battle, but one worth fighting, as this is what real growth is built upon.

Great Expectations

I’ve been reading recently about the Pygmalian Theory, or SFP (self fulfilling prophecy).

In short, the gist is that people rise up to what you expect of them.  It works both ways – if you expect someone to be great they actually perform better and likewise if you expect them to under-perform they are far more likely to do so.

It made me think about being a parent.  As this season is still (albeit far-off) on the horizon I’m quite keen to figure out my plan before I actually need to have one – if that makes sense.  Of course it’s all theory now so may end up being absolute rubbish come the time….  but here goes.

What if I were to tell my kids that they were the smartest, the kindest, the most athletically gifted?  Rather than expect them to get good grades, perform well, (though I would hope for this!) I would set their own expectations of themselves – that they believe they can achieve all things.

Bit like the case of Roger Bannister and the 4 minute mile – once people knew the 4 minute mile could be achieved, many others then went on to reach this goal in a short time after.

What if I were to tell new starters that they were selected because they were the cream of the crop – would this set a standard of excellence in the workplace?

What if, what if.  Worth a thought though.  By just finding the best in people and setting a standard of excellence I have an opportunity to actually change my world… even if just a little bit.

Muscle Memory

I’ve been thinking a lot about muscle memory over the past while.  It can make us great, or make us old dogs in the face of new tricks.

Yesterday I had a guitar lesson (I’m determined to learn to play something more portable than a piano) and my teacher told me that in learning to play any new song, to practice it 50 times slowly.  To learn something correctly, without mistakes, creates a muscle memory that then will always lead you to the right chords.  To practice something at full speed incorrectly a 1000 times only conditions your muscle memory to reach for the wrong chords.  Apparently Rachmaninoff never played a piece full speed until the concert itself.

Interesting.

Jason Freid writes in his book Rework that those who have failed in business and wear the badge proudly actually have the same success rate with their next venture as those that are starting out for the first time, whilst those who have succeeded have a much higher success rate the second time round.

Children conditioned to clean their plates have a tendency to overeat for the rest of their lives.  Teenagers that binge drink tend to be more inclined to become problem drinkers.  Those active from an early age tend to stay active.

Research shows it takes 21 days to create a habit.  Others have argued as much as 66 days, but either way the days are just an iota of my lifespan. Think of all the things that you could do differently in just 66 days.  Stop brushing change off with the defeatist behaviour that it’s ‘your genes’, or ‘just how things are’ or worse, ‘how you were raised’.

You can change.  It’s just a case of muscle memory.  What are you teaching yourself today?