Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Time for Change: Thriving Under Sudden Change

This series on change has addressed ways of planning and implementing a change in a way that assumes something gradual and within your control, but change doesn’t always work that way. Every day, people deal with the sudden and unexpected. It could be the loss of a loved one, being laid off, losing an important relationship or enduring another tantrum from an ignorant boss when he doesn’t get his way.

The grief cycle has stages you must pass through to successfully cope with a loss. There is a similar process for managing sudden change. Steering through it successfully helps you regain control of your life. Although uncomfortable, it can help you transform even the most painful change into something positive.

Here’s how to navigate the jarring feelings, thoughts and behaviors associated with a sudden change into something positive.

  1. Identify the biggest change that you are currently experiencing or are most concerned over.

  2. List several losses that you believe this would create for you.

  3. From that list, pick the one loss that is most uncomfortable for you and explore why you believe that. This uncovers the real concern that you need to address.

  4. Determine where you fall in the following paradigm and make an action to move to the next phase. Your goal is to spend more time feeling anticipation, productive and satisfied.

Paralyzed Phase - When you act paralyzed it’s because you have feelings of fear. You’re cautious because you feel a loss of safety. Whether you perceive the change to be good or bad, there is still a sense of loss of what was.

Resistant Phase - If you are resistant to this change it’s because you feel resentment. You’re skeptical because you’re choosing to doubt the reality of the situation. Since you doubt the validity of facts and second guess yourself, blame begins to cloud your thinking.

Unproductive Phase - If you are unproductive and feel anxious, it’s because the reality of the change has become clearer to you, even though you may still not like it. You are confused, frustrated, and your motivation is lethargic. This is a crucial place to either make a decision or continue to stagnate. Continuing to be fearful forms a spiral of resentment and anxiety which becomes harder and harder to break free from. However, if you decide to be open to discovering the possibilities that the change could represent you will replace anxiety with anticipation.

Anticipation Phase - Feeling anticipation energizes you and helps you become creative in your thinking. By making decisions, you regain some control and build hope and optimism, because you’re reminded that you have choices.

Productive Phase - Productivity grows your confidence. Pragmatic, you understand the change, are actively involved in it and can acknowledge some of the benefits of it.

Satisfaction Phase - Generous with a feeling of satisfaction because you’ve regained focused thinking and the ability and willingness to be flexible. The change is no longer something different, because it’s integrated into your routine.

Change has always been a part of the human experience. Today, it’s an accelerant. Most things are not slowing down. The ability to effectively manage change, both from a leadership and followership position will determine if you enjoy the ride of your life, or stay perpetually curled up in a ball with motion sickness.

Miss any in this series?
Vision and Anticipation
Testing and Building Support
5 Elements of Successful Change

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Novel News

Here's a quick update on my debut novel, Three Blinks and a Sigh. 

If you like eBooks you can download a copy at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and soon iTunes.

However, if you're like most people, and still like hold a book in your hand but hate waiting for a new release, have I got news for you!

You can order a printed paperback copy from my website's Book Order Page. (Psst, for a limited time you can get two for $25 by visiting here.) 
Want to pay closer to free?Well ... if you're on Facebook, become a fan of my Writer Page: http://www.facebook.com/KarlBimshasWrites because I'll be giving books away this weekend.
Like me on Facebook

Remind me again, what's it about?
When a Boston poet tries to recover from his divorce and find romance, three women challenge his notion of love and force him to question his values.

An unexpected reunion with his ex-wife drives Ken Shea to explore his long held feelings and confront an old reality in a new light. The mesmerizing allure of his much younger online muse is suddenly tested when she arrives in town but stays with another man. And his blunt socialite friend and business partner attempts to educate him on the differences between his head and his heart.

Wanna Help Spread the Word?
  • Download a copy of Three Blinks and Sigh 
  • Write a multi star review
  • Forward this message to readers you know
  • Follow me on Twitter and Like my Writer Fan Page on Facebook 
  • Encourage your friends to do the same

I continue to be grateful for your support.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

5 Elements of Successful Change

5 Elements of ChangeMany times change is accompanied by feelings of confusion, anxiety, resistance and frustration. If you're leading a change movement and you see any of these attributes, make the time to reverse engineer the problem and fix it. Use the 5 Elements of Successful Change below to strengthen your cause.

If you aren't clear where you're going, you lack a clear vision. When you try to follow someone who doesn't have a clear vision you're bound to be confused. You don't want confused people on your team. Go back to your vision and make it simpler, preferably one sentence, clearer and easily repeatable.

By definition, change involves doing something different. It may be to stop doing something just as easily as it could mean to start doing something new. Both require brushing up on, or learning new skills. This often causes anxiety. That's because there is a fear related to the perceived skill level required. People don't like not knowing what they need to know. Worse, most don't easily acknowledge what they don't know. As a leader of the change you must help people identify and acquire the skills they needed to make the change happen.

"What's in it for me?" is a common question that is either implicitly or explicitly asked by people who are being told to change. Yes, there are good spirits and altruistically motivated people, but everyone needs an incentive to take action. Sometimes it's based on fear and hate, sometimes it's love and devotion. A change without an incentive is going to meet resistance. Eliminate the resistance by increasing the incentive for the change.

In my opinion there is nothing more frustratingly stupid then the stereotypical, "You need to do more with less" command some people make. Resources are often time, treasure or talent. An effective leader gathers resources and deploys them where they make sense. Excellent leaders of change, focus on talent and make the time to create confidence, foster ingenuity and build a unifying esprit de corps that finds resources where the lazy leader never bothers to look.

Action Plan
Wishing is a beautiful thing, but wishing for successful change does not bring it about. It takes a disciplined plan of action to move forward and measure ongoing progress. Teams without an action plan move, but it's generally in circles and with whim. Whim does not ensure lasting change.

Set a clear vision, acquire the necessary skills, offer the appropriate incentive, gather the necessary resources and act on your plan and you will be better equipped to move forward with any change.

Next time: Managing unexpected and sudden change.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Time for Change: Testing and Building Support

Last time we talked about change, and focusing your vision on what you can control. Although, that's not always possible, it is easier than many think. Today we'll discuss why testing change is crucial, and how proactively building support in those most affected will make your efforts palatable to others.

Testing Change
If you are one of the estimated 6 million people who watch Smash on television, you may be getting a rudimentary education on how a musical is created. Drama aside, putting together a production entails a process that is similar to creating change.

It begins with an idea and then gathering the resources to bring that idea to life. Resources can be time, talent or treasure. Change often consumes one of those in a disproportionate amount for the short term in the belief that over time it will work out profitably. Securing resources often runs parallel to running a workshop. A workshop is equivalent to piloting a change. It's a way of floating the idea, finding what works and what doesn't and improving any shortcomings. In theater there are auditions, rehearsals and then the preview. All these steps have to occur before opening night, otherwise there’s no show.

One of the failings of change is trying to get through it too quickly. Following the musical model, it would be akin to a writer getting a new idea on Sunday and having opening night scheduled for Monday. That’s a recipe for disaster. It’s the same with your change plan. If there is something that you want different in your team, organization, or even family, then it behooves you to act systematically and help prepare others.

As an example, if you're going to finally write that book that is burning inside of you, something in your routine is going to have to be different to make room for your writing time. It’s smart to start out small first. For example, rather than no longer cooking dinner at night, the fledgling book writer might offer to cook four nights a week, but not the other three because they want to use that time to write. Perhaps they could stay up an hour later or get up an hour earlier once a week to start, and if that works they could expand it to two or three times a week.

The book writer would keep their family or friends engaged by soliciting their ideas on finding more writing time and keeping them informed of their progress. If you engage others, their support will grow, and that’s key for success.

Building Support
A great way of helping people buy into a change is to anticipate the concerns of those who will be affected, and to address them immediately. This takes work, however getting the support of those who are closest to the change is vital for a satisfying success.

Be prepared to respond to those affected by having answers to questions like; What’s the change? Why is it needed? What’s wrong with the way things are now? How will this impact us personally? What’s in it for us? How will we find the time? Will we have to learn a new skill?

Once people gather information and feel their personal concerns have been heard, they inevitably begin to wonder how to start the change. Help them out by answering questions like; What do we do first? How do we manage all the details? What happens if it doesn’t work as planned? Where do we go for help? Is this normal? How will other things change?

After facing some of the ‘pain’ of change, people will question why they can’t return to how things were before and you’ll hear questions like; Is this worth the effort? Is this making a difference? Are we making progress? Are things getting better?

As people recognize that the change is occurring and working, they wonder things like; Who else should be involved? How can we get others involved in what we’re doing? How do we spread the word?

Finally, as you reach the end of your project and it becomes the new normal, some people will grow concerned about the sustainability of all the change with questions like; What’s next? How can we make this even better? Can we improve on our original idea?

It’s unlikely you’ll need to address all the above concerns, however if you are forthcoming with honest answers as similar questions arise, your change will be successful.

Next time we'll discuss the 5 elements of successful change and a way to audit your progress to ensure there aren’t any holes in your plan.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Time for Change: Vision and Anticipation

classic clock 2Change is one of those things people want when they don't have it, and dread when they’re in the middle of it. How did you react to moving your clocks forward one hour? Are you excited for Spring? Are you dreading the end of the month?

Some people say they despise change. They take comfort in dependable routines, like the sun rising and setting, (which, when you think about it, is actually daily change on a cosmic level.)

Some people say they thrive under the excitement of constant change, but throw up an unexpected detour on the way to work or move their coffee cup every day and they go ballistic.

Change is the one constant in your life. It surrounds you every day. It is also largely predictable. Like any life cycle, it has a beginning, middle, end and a new beginning. The complexity, speed and success of any change is influenced in large part by how well the change is managed.

When you can anticipate the change you’ll feel in greater control. Change is moving from what was, to what will be. Success in a new job, moving to a new city, starting a new relationship, all take vision from where you are to where you want to be.

Most people want to rush through change. They are either excited, or they just want to get it done and out of the way. That’s shortsighted. If you plant some tomato seeds in the morning it doesn't matter how much passion you have, you won't be making fresh marinara sauce for your spaghetti dinner that night. Sometimes change is sudden. Although that can be unexpected and alarming, there is a way to successfully navigate through the uncertainty. I'll address that later. For now, focus your vision and what you can control. What has to change and why? Share your thoughts with a few people. Supporters will give you confidence, and detractors will unwittingly give you valuable information you can use to make your change more effective. Next we’ll discuss how to test the change and how to prepare others for it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Three Blinks and a Sigh

I am thrilled to announce the release date of my debut novel, Three Blinks and a Sigh
You may know that I’ve written several business and motivation books that have helped people to find, set and get their great goals and discover the aha within themselves. This novel, my first, is only a slight departure from that mission. Romantic, but not a romance, this story does have a few motivational gems buried within the pages.
What’s it about?
When a Boston poet tries to recover from his divorce and find romance, three women challenge his notion of love and force him to question his values.
An unexpected reunion with his ex-wife drives Ken Shea to explore his long held feelings and confront an old reality in a new light. The mesmerizing allure of his much younger online muse is suddenly tested when she arrives in town but stays with another man. And his blunt socialite friend and business partner attempts to educate him on the differences between his head and his heart.
If you read eBooks, I would be delighted if you bought this novel from Amazon. It will also be available via Barnes & Noble and iTunes in a few weeks. If you prefer to wait for a physical book, drop me a line and I’ll let you know when one will be available.
How can you help?
  • Download a copy of Three Blinks and Sigh
  • Write a review
  • Forward this message to readers you know
  • Follow me on Twitter or Like my Writer Page on Facebook
  • Encourage your friends to do the same

As always, I am grateful for your support.