Saturday, September 23, 2017

Cultivate Healthy Habits to Adapt to Changes

It takes a lot of energy to break old habits and outdated thought processes, but change is happening at a more rapid pace.

Change - big or small is inevitable. You can’t step into the same river twice, meaning that everything is always in a state of flow with increasing speed. Change agents are the leaders, change champions, change specialists, team players who orchestrate and collaborate to accomplish the desired changes and transformations. The change agent is not a title, but the game-changing mindset and the fine-tuned skillsets. More specifically, how to cultivate healthy habits to adapt to changes?

Change is a mindset: Are change agents born or created? Understanding the psychology behind the change is the first step for building change as a habit either at the individual or organizational level. Developing change as a mindset is challenging, often if people have been in an organization for a long period of time, their mindset may be one of "I don't want to change, and why should I." Mindset is at the heart of our belief system. These are beliefs that we all hold and have formed over time and hard experience. If we agree with this then we would have to say that we can not change someone's mindset, only they can. There will be bumps and roadblocks along the way, mainly they are those static mindsets, such as silo thinking (refuse to have cross-functional collaboration); non-critical thinking (reflexive, not reflective), small thinking (locally right, globally wrong) or simply that 'resistance to change' mind. At the business environment, in order to develop change mindset, There is a critical mindset that needs to change and that is the mindset of management. You need leaders with the changing mentality and right attitude as well. The change leaders must have an open mind where they constantly seek the better way to do things, they can encourage and support their team to go further on things that are important for the business and its customers. They understand how to influence the emotions of employees and instill positive psychology, so people are empowered, intrinsically motivated, be creative to take initiative and self-confident because they are well trained and supported. By having an empowered workforce that is able to respond to changing conditions, using its own initiative can truly make a business nimble.
Dig into big “WHY”: Change is not for its own sake, it’s for improvement and innovation. It is the key to present the WHY first. Primarily, it provides a way to inject enthusiasm, which is infectious and spurs the concept forward. The successful change agent, either individuals or businesses, are the ones that have learned WHY should change, WHEN change is called for and how to decide WHAT to change. Every process, every expenditure of time, money, or energy, and every assignment of resources should directly relate back to the "Why." The enemy is not changing per se, it's the change without focus or purpose. Once people agree with the WHY, they can develop their own level or means of participating, even offering what you didn't think to ask for, thereby re-injecting further excitement in their being part of it. "Why" should not only precede "How," but should be reaffirmed at each step in the "How." Many organizations focus so heavily on the "doing" (the "how"), they lose sight of the "purpose" (the "why"), the "HOW" was originally designed to achieve. The big WHY of change should always about betterment, problem-solving or innovation.

Whoever the sponsor is, it has to be okay for the change agents to fail, but fail forward and learn from failures: There is always a risk in changes, to accelerate changes, you want people to be able to and dare to take risks. It is important to create a safe environment that change is the new normal, and calculated risk is tolerant. It the working environment both encourages success and also failures (when tried their best), but discourages inaction, change becomes the new normal. So, the empowered change agents can take bold steps to drive changes, from incremental improvement to radical innovation to leapfrog digital transformation.  Change Agent cannot achieve effective transformation without motivation. What a Change Agent most often does is harness the skills, talent, drive, passion and enthusiasm for the whole organization and direct that to a unifying and shared goal. The real skill of a Change Agent is the ability to play any role and know which to play, and when. And the organizational change management team should be OK for the change agents to fail, but fail forward and learn from failures.

Change should be viewed as an "opportunity”: Change is clearly not just one thing. There is disruptive change and incremental change. There is a positive change, negative change, and change as a response to changing external conditions and changes that are initiated because of external factors. There is the change you want and change that is forced upon you. Some change is inevitable and another change is purely elective. Generally speaking, the change should be viewed as an opportunity. It’s the opportunity for either solving business problems or improving productivity or cutting costs, improving products/services or stimulating innovation. Change itself is an acceptable concept in organizations and acknowledged by people. To achieve desired change, an organization must create an environment that enables effective communication and collaboration, share and promote ideas, and provide necessary incentives for employees. Change brings both opportunities and risks, it is important to manage them well and get in the way of accepting the business facts that change is inevitable and needs to become an ongoing capability of either individuals or organizations.

Enjoy the challenges about complex problem-solving: Change is never for its own sake, a change agent is a problem-solver, enjoy understanding the complexity and guide people through it; finding common ground and initiative dialogues, or turn around the tough situations. Often problem-solving is associated with human nature. Thus, Change Management needs to be people-centric and goal driven, shouldn’t just put emphasis on change tools. The implementation of any significant change process usually succeeds or fails because of the leadership of that change process. With effective change leadership and efficient change management, Change Agents are encouraged to solve complex problems. These are people who have optimistic change mindset, the organizational knowledge, have built relationships, and have established their credibility. Because of their insider know-how, they will be the ones to see the need for change, often first to realize the threats and appreciate the opportunities, and have the passion for making things happen.

Change needs to be cultivated as a business habit and ongoing organizational capabilities. Riding ahead of the change curve takes strategy and methodology. In today's work environment. It takes a lot of energy to break old habits and outdated thought processes, but change is happening at a more rapid pace. If you make change part of your routine, then change becomes easier to deal with.


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