Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.
Poor word! Poor poor innocent little word. It instills fear and anxiety at the best of times. We hear it and we run! And if we can’t run, we hide – and if hiding is not an option we negotiate by telling others all the reasons in the world why it’s not a good idea, this change thing.... I can identify strongly here. I am no lover of change, in fact the longer routines and things can stay the same the better. For example, moving house. One of my pet hates. I am a creature of habit and known environment, so moving house evokes really strong feelings of apprehension and discomfort in me. But as with everything else in life, I've had to accept that this really is just another part of life and so I've had to find little positives in each house move we've had to do - thankfully there weren't that many.
At one of our recent team catch up events (aptly themed “Awesome Day”) we asked team to provide feedback. How are we doing as an organisation. What do we do well and what can we improve on. What’s fun and what’s not. But let’s just park that thought for a minute.
I won’t describe leadership as one of the easiest things I’ve done so far. Not that ‘easy’ is what I do of course. 😊 For the most part though it’s challenging and somewhat confronting (both are good things!), so putting yourself out there and asking for feedback is quite a bold step. You hope for positive feedback. Fingers crossed you at least get some of it right, right? For the best part I was truly just hoping team would feel confident enough to provide it. Anything but a gaping void of silence would’ve been a win really.
Anyway, back to Awesome Day. The feedback was, well AWESOME. 63 feedback forms made it to the ‘ballot box’, representing 63 of our team members valuing the opportunity to provide insight, feedback and suggestions.
Yahoooo!! *insert dance of joy emoji here*
In reviewing the content of each form or ‘ballot paper’ I was surprised at the commonality of some and the complete dissimilarity of others. It truly was a thorough representation of our team with diversity strongly represented.
A standout theme throughout though was the expression of their feelings about change. It did not surprise me at all. I valued the input and for as much as I could at least to some extent identify with their views on it, I knew I needed to pause and reflect because change was indeed looming again.
Change was not the only topic though, and my readings of said ‘ballot’ revealed many great suggestions on improving processes, communication and facilitating stronger onboarding and orientation of those joining teams as new recruits, to name but a few. Let me park again just for a minute.
In previous blogs Lyndsey made reference to coming back from Christmas break and both of us realising that ‘things needed to change’. This realisation necessitated reflection, confronting old beliefs and processes and through this resulting in significant self-discovery.
A little confronting you say? A whole lot confronting I say! So you’ll understand then when I said earlier that ‘change was looming’ I meant it literally, yes?
Back to the ‘ballots’. I read and read and read some more, bounced thoughts off Lyndsey (as we do) and it was in one of these conversations that Lyndsey pondered about the natural fear of change. Is it really fear of the change itself? Maybe the fear is based on worries that they won’t be ready for change or have the tools and support, even knowledge how to operate in the changed environment. I know how to do things now but will I know how to do them differently once change has happened? Clever person this Lyndsey of ours!
It struck me that this may well be a fear of failure that we were looking at. Now more than ever before I knew concerted efforts had to be applied to look after team through this phase. The suggestions on improvement I was reading about in the many ‘ballots’ would naturally also bring about change so we could continue actively demonstrating delivering on the suggestions made by team.
In short again, change was looming!
Through all our readings, research and explorations it feels right to introduce improvements slowly, intermittently and steadily so teams can feel strengthened and secure in having knowledge and tools to facilitate and navigate through the improvements they’ve suggested. We want to set our teams up for success! Work should be a complimentary life experience; it should be fun and rewarding.
Changing change will mean looking at it differently.
So I’ll challenge myself and the wider team a little. Let’s remove the fear of change and replace it with tools, thinking, guidance and support to help team navigate and succeed through change successfully, effortlessly and smoothly, ultimately celebrating the improvements as representative of their voice and seeing the positive difference it's made in their day to day GSL lives.
Won’t this be the change? I think so!