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day, week, or month, shun alternative means of accomplishment when the advantages yield such productivity that there is no comparison to the old way? How many individuals don’t want to hear about new days of proceeding in their careers and their lives in ways that would make dramatic differences? Most of the breathing space principles contained in my book of the same name, and which I discuss at my presentations, will make dramatic differences in people’s lives. Those who adopt Breathing Space principles routinely write to me, sometimes three, six or nine months after my presentation, to tell me that the benefits they have received have had a cascading effect. Predictable Resistance to Change As a change manager, you may have observed that the moment people are required to make a change in their behavior, predictable phenomenon are likely to occur. Whoa is Us -- Some or all of your staff members will bemoan what they have to forsake. This occurs even when they didn’t like what they were doing before! People form irrational if fleeting attachments to the way they have been doing things. Your job is to acknowledge them for the “sacrifice” that they will have to make and to commiserate with them for enduring the hardship of changing over. Even if you do not intellectually and emotionally agree with your staff’s viewpoint, give validation to their feelings. That will prove to be a most helpful gesture in inducing them to move on to what is next. This is So Awkward Some of your staff members will feel out of sorts if they try to embrace the new measure. • Some will feel ill at ease and perhaps actually manifest physical illness. • Some will feel uncomfortable or out of sorts. • Some may feel awkward. To give you the experience of what it might be like for your troops, if you’re wearing shoes with laces, untie one of your shoes right. Now re-tie the shoe, but switch hands. If you normally hold the strings with your left hand and make the bow with your right hand, hold the strings with your right hand and make the bow with your left hand. That will feel plenty awkward. Alternatively, if you’re wearing a belt, take it off and put it on in the opposite direction, securing it at the same loop as before. You feel different, don’t you? This isn’t the way you wear your belt. Even the most minor of changes has the potential to throw one off kilter. How long would it take you to feel comfortable tying your shoelaces in the opposite way? It could be days, weeks, or even months. How about reversing the direction of you belt? You could probably adjust in a few minutes. So it is with asking your staff to incorporate various changes. Nearly all are likely to cause some feeling of awkwardness, even if for a few moments. Some changes will have a lingering effect. Some will make your people feel self-conscious for days on end. Anticipating and Welcoming Resistance An effective change manager anticipates resistance at the outset of a change campaign. He or she almost welcomes resistance because it’s a sign that the change process is unfolding. Consider the situation in which change perceived to be burdensome, demanding, or difficult meets with little resistance on the part of those charged with executing it. If anything, such a situation would be cause for alarm, because people would be masking their reactions. Eat What They Eat When you understand what your troops are enduring, you have the potential to be a far better manager of them. In the war, a commander was served a lavish meal one evening. The meal came during a time when rations for his men had to be cut back. He waved away the server, in effect saying “bring me the same level of rations that my men are receiving.” This commander understood the importance of sharing the experience that his targets of change were experiencing. He could have easily eaten the lavish meal and justified having such a feast. After all, as the commander of the troops, he would need to be mentally sharp. He would need to have the full benefits of a highly nutritious meal. He could still empathize with the troops. He could intellectually surmise what it must be like to ingest 40% of one’s normal calories intake. He could postulate on the ramifications of lower levels of proteins in their diet. He could talk with others about calorie deprivation. Perhaps he could read about it, make notes, and even plot a course of action. None of these maneuvers, however, would give him the insights that would naturally accrue as a result of him having the same meal as them. You and Your Targets What about you? Are you prepared to have the same meal as your targets of change? Or, are you going to rationalize the situation, claiming that you have the intellectual and emotional capacity to empathize with their experience? The old adage, “Do as I say, not as I do,” can be the death knell for the change manager who believes that he has extended capacity for understanding the blight of others As mottos go, “Walk a mile in my moccasins,” and “Practice what you preach” are far more cogent. PE CHANGE Jeff Davidson, MBA, CMC, aka “the work life balance expert” offers keynote presentations and workshops on a creating work life balance, managing the pace with grace, and thriving in a hyper-accelerated world. Davidson is a columnist for Association News, Insurance Business America, Physicians Practice, The Practical Lawyer, and Human Resources IQ. Jeff is the author of numerous books including Breathing Space, Simpler Living, and Dial it Down, Live it Up. He was cited by Sharing Ideas magazine as a consummate speaker of the year. Email jeff@breathingspace.com 12 Submit your Articles Personal Excellence essentials presented by HR.com | 11.2014


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