Change, Loss, and Resistance

“They have a new building, a new workplace, but there is resistance, and I do not understand why they are not embracing the change.”

In other words, “hey we invested in a new building, a new space, and they should be happy!”

There was more than a building change.

A lot changed.

We talk more about the new building, the new workplace.

We learn that there were other changes.

They used to work together, now they are alone.

They used to have space to connect as a team, now there is isolation.

They used to be comfortable and a little distant from the direct issues, now they are directly in the middle of the problem.

All this change may be a better way.

All this change may be beneficial for the job.

All this change may workout in the long-term.

Now we can understand the resistance.

Now we can understand the disruption the new building caused.

Now we can understand the loss of connection with the team.

There is a great quote about change.

“Change is a form of loss. 

You need to let people grieve it.”

The resistance is grieving a loss.

The resistance is trying to adjust to the loss of team.

The resistance is getting used to working alone.

We need to understand that the change (even if that change is ultimately good) can also create a loss.

We may need to be patient while they grieve.

We may need to understand and recognize the resistance.

We may need to provide support in the process.

We will need to explain why this change is important, and acknowledge the loss.

We may need to explain it again.

We may need to provide more support than we imagined.

We may have caused other issues that we didn’t intend.

Change: It is much harder to manage than we may have guessed.

Wired for Solutions

We have already talked about being wired for problems. We all have different styles, and some behavioral styles have this uncanny ability to scan the environment for problems.

At first this sounds negative.

Always pointing out what is wrong.

But there is a flip side to having a style or mind that is wired to discover problems.

That same mind or style is also wired for solutions.

The more I work with people about their style, the more they need to see these two sides.

Not everything about our style is positive.

Sometimes we don’t always like everything about our style.

But our styles have two sides.

You may be more prone to follow the rules, and that same style promotes excellence and accuracy.

You may be prone to be talkative and social, and that same style can move people to believe, and hope, and dream.

You may be prone to be a little scattered or distracted, and that same style breaks out of the status quo and moves organizations forward through change.

You may be prone to focus on the task or the process, and that same style will build organizations that can scale.

Knowing who you are, and your style is the first step. If you haven’t taken one of these assessments, contact me and let’s find how you are wired, and how you can make the most impact in your world, your business, and your journey.

Making Cabinets

building-cabinets

“It was easier when I was making cabinets.”

“Why, what was different?”

“At the end of the day, I could see and feel my progress. Now I just deal with people and it is hard to know if I accomplished anything.”

As I reflect on my own work. I can relate.

A lot of what we do is less measurable, less tangible.

It is certainly easier when you make something. It wasn’t there before. You built it. It now exists. You can see it.

Ideas, thoughts, managing, leading are harder to quantify.

But we are still making.

Building ideas.

Crafting thoughts.

Developing people.

Creating and expanding organizations.

“Maybe it would be easier to ask yourself a simple question at the end of the day: What Cabinets Did I Make Today?”

“What do you mean?”

“Think about your work now in terms of cabinets because that is where you started. Take your interactions with customers, sales gained, estimates written, and turn then into cabinets.”

“You are a little weird.”

“Yeah I know, but keep tracking. This will tie your current work to the familiar and fulfilling work that you keep longing to do again.”

“I can try. So when I complete four estimates in a day, that may be a cabinet? Instead of not feeling like I am making progress, I can look at that pile of paper, and see a cabinet?”

“Yes, making cabinets out of your current work.”

Maybe that is how we can all calibrate our time, our effort. Think about our work in terms that are familiar and comfortable. A lot of our lives can feel like spinning our wheels instead of Making Cabinets.

What Cabinets are you making?

What [insert your cool creative thing here] have you built today?

Go. Make a difference. Make Cabinets.

 

Conversations and How to Have Them

Together we discussed friendship, which was one of my favorite experiences. But recently I have noticed that friendship (or relationships in general) are built and fueled by conversations.

Over the past few months I have been observing conversations.

But conversations are weird.

Some are like duels.

Some are like speeches.

Some are veiled.

Some are superficial.

Only a few are deep and memorable.

I recently shared some of these conversation observations with a class. Not just any class, but the last class of the year. This particular class has become a yearly tradition and it isn’t lost on me that the final chapter of the year (right before the Holiday Season) is a class on Emotional Intelligence.

Before I shared, I asked.

“What does it take to have a good conversation?”

The answers came.

“Listening. Letting other people speak. Making eye contact. Not being distracted. Not looking at your phone. Asking questions.”

Great answers. Great advice.

It was the last one that really resonated with me. It is what I have been observing.

Asking questions.

You need all of the first things, but it is the last part that may make the real difference.

Asking questions.

Demonstrates that you are interested in others and not just about yourself. (I have a friend who has made extreme strides in this area, and jokes about how they used to be as a reminder. During a conversation they will jump in with “Enough about me, now I want to hear what you think about me.”

Asking questions.

Questions help you to learn about others.

My assignment to this class was to spend the Holiday Season practicing having conversations. This practice starts with asking questions. It may be helpful to try out a few of these questions over your Holiday Season as well.

  1. How are you? (And listen to the reply. Wait for a reply beyond “I’m good” or “Fine” and maybe ask a second time. Really, how are you?
  2. What is going well?
  3. What are you most excited for in 2017?
  4. What are three things that you would most like to accomplish in the next year?
  5. What is the last book you read?
  6. How are you balancing your multiple roles?
  7. Can you tell me a little more about what you do? What most excites you about what you do?

And the list goes on.

Be careful about asking a question, then jumping in with your own answers to each of these questions. Remember my friend’s quote, this is about them, not you.

Asking questions.

Go try it out and let us know how it goes.

P.S. Sometimes conversations drift towards things that are not as important (Politics, Sports, the Weather) and I have a fun trigger phrase with a few friends when we drift off. Whenever one of us dwells too much on the latest game stats or news story, one of us remembers to say, “Are you Sad?” (Because we must be avoiding real conversation out of sadness…) We all chuckle and get back to focusing on things that matter most.

The Evidence

Helping people understand themselves is a large part of what I do. There are various tools to assist with this process, but a solid go to assessment includes the DISC (Thank you creator of Wonder Woman) combined with Driving Forces. This combination helps people understand both their behavioral style (How they do things) along with their motivations (Why they do things).

One of my favorite opportunities to help with this understanding is part of a three-day learning experience for supervisors. I have the opportunity to spend a few hours walking these 20 supervisors through their styles.

Typically during the periodic breaks, many of them come up and want to discuss their results in more detail.

“Hey, I know it says that I can be perceived as harsh, but that is not who I am trying to be, how can I change this perception?”

“When it describes me as picky how can I balance that with the job that does have a need for accuracy and follow through?”

“Wow, how did this thing know so much about me?”

But it was a few days ago that something really caught my attention.

The session began, and one person in particular was noticeable.

I could read the body language. Arms folded, looking annoyed.

Shaking their head No.

Hardness in their face.

Then the break.

I knew what would be coming next.

They were the first to come talk to me.

The tone was aggressive.

They were on the defense.

“Hey, this thing is not right. It is not accurate.”

I paused and looked down at the page.

I can see the page, the graph, the chart.

“I didn’t really read it all, but what I did read was not me! That is not how I am perceived, and I really care about doing what is right!”

They are standing and move closer to me. We are now face-to-face. I can feel them in my space.

There is another supervisor watching this interaction, they can see the same page I can see. Their glance goes from that page, to me, to the defensive supervisor. A slight smile appears.

I smile as well.

I wait.

There are more words.

I look down at the chart once more.

I wait.

There is a pause.

A hard look at the offending page.

A third smile.

“Wait a minute. Did I just provide you with the evidence that this report is accurate?”

I waited and then chimed in.

“Well, what I see is someone who relies on past experience, and proven methods, who may be skeptical of new information, especially that which may be critical of you, because your strong ego may get in the way. Also, you may periodically bring a more aggressive approach than needed, especially when you feel threatened.”

Another pause.

Smiles all around.

“I think I am starting to get it. It is not easy coming to grips with who I am. Some of this report is great, some of it feels hard.”

“Now you are getting it. There are parts of you that are really great and help you to be successful. But some of what we are here to deal with are the parts that get in the way of your success.”

“Thank you for being patient with me.”

“Thank you for providing the evidence that these reports are pretty accurate.”

Learning about your style is not always easy. The hard parts are easily rejected.

But sometimes, circumstances provide the Evidence needed to move forward.

Speaking of Money

Speaking of Money…

Why don’t we?

We all tend to agree that we need Money to do certain things, but is has become a secretive endeavor.

Sometimes the opportunities present themselves, but we have been trained, conditioned, or accustomed that Speaking of Money is not polite, appropriate, or “right.”

I was reflecting on two recent opportunities.

Opportunity #1: The back porch.

While vacationing with family recently we tended to sit on the back porch and have conversations that ranged from the silly to the sacred (A shout out to Iain for that riff.) Conversations included the weather, our plans for that day, what we liked about the previous day, what to eat, what to eat, and sometimes where to eat.

But it was the questions that came from the youngest ones that were the most fun.

“So you are my dad’s older brother?”

“Yes.”

“Really, so you grew up together?”

“Yes.”

“So you are saying that Grammie was your mom, and my dad’s mom?”

“Yes.”

This went on for quite sometime. But then there was another question.

“So, this place we rented to all get together is pretty nice, how much did it cost?”

“Um, Uh, Hmmmm, Not too much.”

“No really, I was wondering what it cost, like how much money?”

“Hey, what was your favorite part of yesterday?”

Opportunity #2: The Menu.

Recently we decided to go away for holiday and instead of the traditional making of a big meal with all the prep, serving, hosting, and cleaning, we just wanted the simplicity of showing up, eating, and leaving.

To help those involved know what we were having for dinner, I shared the menu. But instead of sharing the whole menu, I folded over the part with the pricing and shared the folded version instead.

Unsurprisingly, most people who took the menu, immediately unfolded the piece of paper.

It was my youngest who asked the questions this time.

“So this food seems good, but how much does it cost?”

“Well you know, not too much.”

“Why did you fold over the menu and the pricing?”

“Hey, did you pack an extra jacket in case it is cold?”

Two opportunities. Two total misses.

The conditioning, training, or whatever it was overrode the opportunity in the moment.

Speaking of Money shouldn’t be so awkward.

Speaking of Money shouldn’t be something that freezes us.

We should look for opportunities where Speaking of Money helps provide perspective, insight, or understanding of how things work.

We may need to embrace this awkwardness and start Speaking of Money when the opportunities come this way.

We want to convey why we spent the money on vacation because connecting with family was that important.

We want to convey why we spent the money on a holiday meal so that we would not have the typical stress associated with holiday preparation.

We want to convey a healthy understanding of the costs, the sacrifices, the choices, and the reasons.

In order to do that, we are going to have to start Speaking of Money a little more often.

 

Talking with Strangers

I can still remember the words.

“Don’t talk to strangers.”

We are reminded of these instructions when we are young to keep us safe.

But we get older.

Sometimes these words remain.

We go about our lives.

We keep to ourselves.

We don’t talk to strangers.

Our circles remain small.

Strangers cross our paths.

We could just smile politely and go back to our world, phones, books, or lives.

Instead we fight this urge to remain quiet, and begin Talking with Strangers.

We learn about their lives and their journey.

We meet second grade teachers who love Dr. Seuss and are almost moved to tears when you talk about making a difference.

We meet bankers who believe in small banks that are connected to customers.

We meet curriculum developers and admission specialists.

We meet heart transplant coordinator something something and another thing (perhaps about assisted living) that was hard to remember.

We learn about stories of big extended families.

We learn about why they meet for coffee and how they connect around the holidays.

We learn about moving away and coming back home.

We learn about passions that parallel your own.

We meet.

We learn.

Our circles expand.

I agree, “don’t talk to strangers.”

Talking with Strangers is so much better.

And…

I don’t typically do this, but a special shout out to Doug (Petey), Deb, Bob, Amy, Leslie, and Becky. Yes you did make it into the blog, and I didn’t even have to change your names. After trying so hard to remember six names, it seemed like a shame to waste it!