Team Transformation: Use Your Social Connections to Create Lasting Change

March 26, 2015

Man changing his mood

“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” Viktor E. Frankl

Check out the book, Change Anything by 5 different people.  It’s an empirical study of how people create change.  What are the factors involved?  They narrowed it down to three:

1.  Personal

2.  Environmental

3.  Social

Each one has a  motivational component and an ability component.  You have to be motivated to change, then attain the ability to do so.  You have to take personal responsibility. Jesus asked one person, “Do you want to be healed?”  Then you have to create the environment for change.  Don’t buy a bunch of snacks at the grocery store and think that you can use your will power to not eat them.  The last part, and I think likely the most important part, is the social aspect of change.  Let people in your life know what you are trying to do.  Build in the accountability, connection, and encouragement.  We have found that we get much better results with groups than we do with individuals.

We work not only with emotional intelligence, but mental and physical peak performance.  It all works together to create amazing, lasting changes personally and professionally.  One recent group of 21 top leaders lost over 200 pounds as a group and significantly increased their emotional competence, especially their interpersonal skills.

A couple of the guys decided to bring their family in on the fun.  As a family, they decided on some goals and put them into a spread sheet. One of the guys called it The Family Smackdown.  It was a competition.  The family members who did the most activities over an eight week period won cash prizes.

The items were:

Sleep (7 hours)

Water (8 glasses)

No sugar

No junk food

Fruits and vegetables (2 servings each)

Journal

Scriptures (15 minutes) and two prayers

No eating after 9 pm

Act of kindness

It energized the family and helped the participant and his family members to make those positive changes.  And these initiatives tend to linger long after the end of the program.

There is a friend of mine on Facebook who I have known for 30 years.  One day, she put on Facebook that she was going to start walking.  She wrote every single day after she finished her morning walk and created quite a following.  Some days, there were more than 50 comments, encouraging her and reinforcing that behavior.  And she kept walking.  At the one year mark, there were over dozens of people who commented on her status, encouraging her and congratulating her.  One person gave her a very expensive pair of walking shoes as a gift for making the one year mark.  She lost a lot of weight and her outlook has totally changed.  She now helps to plan reunions and travels with a group of women she reconnected with on Facebook.  Would she have attained these results without that social aspect?  Perhaps.  But it is a powerful testament to adding the social into any change endeavor that you have.  She has inspired many others to walk.  And another friend who has encouraged her has put on Facebook that he is going to quit smoking.

Change is hard.  Period.  And we need all the help and encouragement we can get.  So accept the personal responsibility, create that environment for change, and get as many people in on the process as possible!

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How to Spark Creative Genius in Yourself and Innovation in Your Company

December 4, 2014

thought leader

How do you make your competition irrelevant? There are only two things you have that others don’t:

1. your people

2. innovation—coming up with new ways of doing things

So, how do you cultivate creativity in yourself and your people and innovation in your company? Here are some simple things you can do.

Cultivate Personal Creativity

1. Get rid of your limitations. When you find yourself in doubt or saying something can’t be done, reframe the situation and don’t limit yourself. We are always our own biggest limitation. My wife often tells the story of when I lost my glasses in the Baltic Sea. I was conducting a week-long seminar in a remote village in northern Sweden. On Monday, I jumped into the 42-degree water after a sauna and lost my glasses. I called my wife, who contacted my optometrist, who faxed my prescription to the conference center the next day.

On Tuesday, I thought, if I could find someone with a diving mask, I might be able to find my glasses. My wife thought that was impossible: Who would have a diving mask in northern Sweden? I asked the woman at the bar at the conference center if she knew where I could buy some contact lenses to get me through the week and perhaps a diving mask. As it turns out, she was a diver and offered to bring me a mask the next day. She also told me there was a shop in the village that sold glasses and contacts. I raced there that afternoon and bought a pair of contacts.

On Wednesday, we went on an all-day outing, so I didn’t try to retrieve my glasses. On Thursday, we were so busy, by the time we finished for the day, it was too dark to look for my glasses. Friday morning: Everyone said I was insane. My wife told me to not even try. The class participants were sitting around in deck chairs watching me. They told me there was no way I was going to find my glasses after four days. I put on my bathing suit, my contacts, and the diving goggles and dove into the frigid water. And there, on the sandy bottom, were my glasses. I came up triumphantly with my glasses in hand. The class participants thought I staged the whole thing to teach them about their attitudes. What limitations are you putting on yourself? Now my wife and I always say, “What if?”

2. Open yourself up to possibilities. Any situation has infinite possibilities. Why not believe that it is possible to find an answer or approach things in a different way? Many times, we try to manipulate outcomes because of the lenses we wear. These lenses color our sense of what is possible and what is not. Stripping away the limitations opens us up to the possibilities, which is key for innovation.

3. Develop a “yes, and” attitude. Do you find yourself saying, “Yes, but…” a lot? When people throw ideas at you, are you quick to defeat them? Look at it this way: If a loved one came to you and asked if you loved them, would you respond with, “Yes, but…”? “Yes, and” does NOT mean agreement. It just means that you are open to the possibilities.

Here are additional ways to get those creative juices flowing:

Expand your knowledge. Read a book a week. Be a thirsty learner. Learn about EVERYTHING! Get out in nature and ground yourself. Make time for daily reflection where all of these thoughts can coalesce. Get out of your routines. Use your opposite hand to shave, to bathe, to eat. Put your watch on the opposite wrist. Dry off differently. Get dressed differently. Put your belt on counterclockwise instead of clockwise. Be an ardent observer! Observe everything: how people interact, colors, textures, sounds, sights, tastes, and smells.

Cultivate Innovation in Your Company

1. Set aside the time for innovation and creative endeavors. Have roundtable discussions with colleagues of many different personalities, ages, and experience levels. Make it a company rule that, for at least 30 minutes a day, everyone MUST play, have fun, and innovate. I know this is a hard one for most design and construction companies. But it is vital for cultivating innovation in the workplace. You will get a big return on this investment of time if you take the risk and let your people play.

2. Meet regularly to discuss new ideas. At every meeting, ask: “What can we do differently?” It is vital for the success of your company. Throw out the status quo.

3. Develop a “yes, and” culture. Take the personal “yes, and” attitude and infuse it into your workplace. Ban the phrase, “Yes, but….” Allow people to think way outside the box and offer new ways of doing things. As an industry, we are taught to be risk averse. This is a death knell for innovation. You must reward innovation instead of risk aversion. Let your people know that the leadership is open to new ideas.

I understand that the technical folks in the industry aren’t the best at innovation and creativity. Now is the time to challenge them to think differently. Now is the time to find those new ways of working. The industry is changing and changing fast. We can either embrace the change and drive innovation or react to the change and be one step behind. Now, go out there and innovate!


How to Create Sustainable Change: Have a Plan A, B and C

July 10, 2014

changeAt the beginning of our programs, all participants create development plans.  Many times these plans are grand in nature.  I’ve seen things like “I’m going to run a marathon.”  or “I’m going to do an Iron Man Triathlon.”  or “I’m going to work out EVERY DAY!”  These are amazing goals to have.  And I applaud these participants for allowing themselves to dream big.  At the same time, some of these folks are starting from nothing.  They are doing no exercise at all and yet their goal is to do an Iron Man.  For those folks, we tell them to start small and always have a plan A, B, and C.

Plan A may be to train for the Iron Man.  Plan B may be to run three times a week.  Plan C may be to walk every day for 10 minutes at lunch.  Another example is:  Plan A is to work out every day.  Plan B is to work out three times per week.  Plan C is to do 25 push ups in the morning.  While these lofty goals are admirable, sometimes they can be discouraging.  When the participants don’t accomplish these goals, they feel like failures.  And they are not failures.

Real, lasting, sustainable change comes from tiny things done consistently.  If you can choose to eat right most days, if you can commit to walk for 10 to 20 minutes most days, if you can commit to meditate or manage your stress well most days, you are going to create some amazing, lasting changes in your life.

So have those lofty goals, and always have a plan B and C to fall back on and do those consistently.


Awareness Alone Will Not Change Behavior: Find out how to create true and lasting change now!

May 15, 2012

If awareness alone changed behavior, we would all be pretty brilliant, right?  Most of us know what do to, so why don’t we do it?  This is nothing new.  Here is something from the Bible:

Romans 7:15 (New Living Version): I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.

So what’s the big deal?  Why can’t we create the change that we want?  In short, we set ourselves up to fail.  We leave out critical elements to actually create true and lasting change.

So what are the steps?

1.  Have a WRITTEN plan.  It can’t be in your head.  Have outcomes that are measurable in some way.

2.  Work your plan.  No brainer. You actually have to do the things to create the change.  More on how to stay on track in future steps.

3.  Build in accountability and follow up.  Tell everyone about your plan.  Hire a coach.  Check in periodically with your accountability folks.  There is a social aspect to change that we often leave out.  We think we can do it all ourselves, and when we fail, we beat ourselves up because we weren’t strong enough or we didn’t have enough discipline.  Go to the places where you find encouragement and support.  Create a network of folks to help you with your change journey.

4.  Change the subconscious.  The subconscious mind is 95% of our mind.  Most of the things we do that we don’t want to do are decided in our subconscious.  Think of an addict or alcoholic.  Their conscious mind can think about all of the reasons why they shouldn’t drink or do drugs.  But it is the unconscious desires that take over and make those decisions to drink or do drugs.  So look into subliminal CDs or hypnosis to address these subconscious messages and desires.  You must change those tapes in your head if you want to truly create the change that will last.

5.  Build in daily application and reflection time.  That is where the gradual change comes into fruition.  You reflect on how you can do better and the next time you are in that same situation, you shift your behavior a little bit more toward where you want to be.

6.  You must check in at least once per year on how you are doing with an assessment or self check in.  Without this check in, you will have a tendency to slide back into old behaviors, especially under times of stress.

7.  Address the underlying emotional competency that may be holding you back.  Do you lack impulse control?  You will not likely lose weight, quit spending, or quite gambling until you address the low impulse control.  There are resources on my website to help you do that:  A mini EI test, a workbook, and a resource book.  Check them out.

There you have it.  Simple, but certainly not easy.  Don’t set yourself up to fail.  Give yourself the best possible change of creating positive change in your life!


Family Smackdown: Using the Social Aspect to Create Lasting Change

October 5, 2011

I just read a great book called Change Anything by 5 different people.  It’s an empirical study of how people create change.  What are the factors involved?  They narrowed it down to three:

1.  Personal

2.  Environmental

3.  Social

Each one has a  motivational component and an ability component.  You have to be motivated to change, then attain the ability to do so.  You have to take personal responsibility. Jesus asked one person, “Do you want to be healed?”  Then you have to create the environment for change.  Don’t buy a bunch of snacks at the grocery store and think that you can use your will power to not eat them.  The last part, and I think likely the most important part, is the social aspect of change.  Let people in your life know what you are trying to do.  Build in the accountability, connection, and encouragement.  We have found that we get much better results with groups than we do with individuals.

We work not only with emotional intelligence, but mental and physical peak performance.  It all works together to create amazing, lasting changes personally and professionally.  One recent group of 21 top leaders lost over 200 pounds as a group and significantly increased their emotional competence, especially their interpersonal skills.

A couple of the guys decided to bring their family in on the fun.  As a family, they decided on some goals and put them into a spread sheet. One of the guys called it The Family Smackdown.  It was a competition.  The family members who did the most activities over an eight week period won cash prizes.

The items were:

Sleep (7 hours)

Water (8 glasses)

No sugar

No junk food

Fruits and vegetables (2 servings each)

Journal

Scriptures (15 minutes) and two prayers

No eating after 9 pm

Act of kindness

It energized the family and helped the participant and his family members to make those positive changes.  And these initiatives tend to linger long after the end of the program.

There is a friend of mine on Facebook who I have known for 30 years.  One day, she put on Facebook that she was going to start walking.  She wrote every single day after she finished her morning walk and created quite a following.  Some days, there were more than 50 comments, encouraging her and reinforcing that behavior.  And she kept walking.  At the one year mark, there were over dozens of people who commented on her status, encouraging her and congratulating her.  One person gave her a very expensive pair of walking shoes as a gift for making the one year mark.  She is up to 459 days and she has now lost  60 pounds and her outlook has totally changed.  Would she have attained these results without that social aspect?  Perhaps.  But it is a powerful testament to adding the social into any change endeavor that you have.  She has inspired many others to walk.  And another friend who has encouraged her has put on Facebook that he is going to quit smoking.

Change is hard.  Period.  And we need all the help and encouragement we can get.  So accept the personal responsibility, create that environment for change, and get as many people in on the process as possible!