“Re-Energizing change is often at its most difficult stage, in the implementation phase” – Hayk Tadevosyan
During a coaching session with a small business owner a question came up. “My employees won’t take the changes your are suggesting well, they are somewhat negativee towards change and are very comfortable with things now. Not that they are bad at what they do as the matter of fact they’re great which is why it’s hard form me to change things as they think they change will interrupt their productivity momentum.”
The small business owner wanted to be anonymous and for that reason we’ll call him John. So I asked John,
“Do you work out? he said no, I asked why not? John said he has no time, I asked do you think working out will be good for your health? John said of course. So I said, go ahead make a hard permeant change and cut your day down and make room to have 2 hour daily time period for fitness. John looked at me as I’m crazy as with his growing business, 2 children, wife and 3 dogs that was almost impossible to do”
Moral of this story is its in our human nature to be afraid of any hard changes even if you know it’s good for you. Anything that has to do with starting good habits or stopping unhealthy ones we DO NOT LIKE CHANGE”. So I have come up with a 2 step basic process to “introduce” change not “start” change. The thing about our brain is that it does not listen to us all it only collects information. For example: if you are stressed out, or having some case of anxiety and high heart rate, by telling yourself to stop stressing, your mind will not listen as it doesn’t take direct orders. What do the workers at the Emergency Room tell patiens to do first when they see someone hyperventilating or panicking? BREATE… By taking deep long breaths you are sending information to your brain that it’s safe and ok to slow the heart rate and de stress.
In many ways change is a threat to our safety zone, we are safe zone creatures. We all have a comfort bubble we have built in our mind, the comfort bubble includes our daily routine, our habits and things we do that make us “feel good”. I have found very effective to introduce change with this 2 step process.
#1. Approach the change as temporary change not permeant, typically 30 day commitment. We know we can do allot of difficult things as long as they are temporary, we can run through fire and as long as it’s quick and we don’t stop, we can do it without getting hurt. Therefore temporary changes are much easier to accept than a hard permeant change.
#2. Commit to a reward. If the 30 day commitment (change) does not become a habbit put a hard stop to it and reward yourself or others who are committing with a present. Only you know what the present is and when doing it for others ask what they want, it can be new tennis shoes, spa treatment, movie tickets etc. This tricks the mind in some way to look forward to the 30 days as win or lose there is a positive outcome which is a reward. At this point the reward is the worst case scenario and our mind will accept those odds.
Whether it’s to quit smoking, start exercosong or implementing a new idea or program in an orgonozation I have proven this two step process to be very effective. I have noticed such positive result at the end of each 30 day trial period that the change had such positive outcome that we continued doing it and it was almost unbelievable how we ever did what we were doing without the program. For John we used the 2 step process to implement an accountability game for his employees to track their activities better and the production numbers did tank for the first 2 weeks, followed by the best month his business had ever had.
Although very difficult but good changes are the key in getting better as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is just insane.