Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Thriving on Change

We are in times of change.  We are always in times of change.  Everything changes.  Nothing is constant but change.

But we don't like change.

Not really true.  We don't like being told to change.  And we don't like things to change when we like or feel comfortable in the current situation.  So when an organization needs to make a change (which happens a LOT), employees may be uncomfortable with the change, fear it for a variety of reasons, and, therefore, resist it.  That resistance looks like disengagement, conflict, negativity, or sabotage.  And it results in low productivity, performance issues, and stress.  It may even lead to decreased sales, dissatisfied customers, or relationship issues with suppliers.

It is possible to be OK with change, though.  In fact, you can even thrive on change.  It takes some skill.  And mindfulness helps.

First of all, mindful leadership means the top down directives, decisions, and program roll-outs are compassionate towards what the employees may feel during changing times.  Organizational leaders communicate well and are considerate of the impact the changes have on employees.  They do not walk away from the difficult discussions or decisions and are transparent about what is really going to change... or what is unknown.

Secondly, a mindful culture will allow employees to be calm in the midst of chaos and be accepting of changes.  Additionally, because they are calm, they are more rational minded and can approach decisions and problems with a solution based attitude rather than a fear based one. 

Mindfulness is not all about going to a meditation room and zoning out to get some Zen... in fact, that isn't it at all.  It is about being able to be in the present moment without ignoring it, fighting it, or clinging to it.  It is about being open to change, because change is all we can count on.

If your organization is going through changes, you can begin to alleviate the problems that go along with change by helping your employees express how they feel without judgement and begin meditation groups or other stress relieving activities.  Training employees in mindfulness can help them cope with the changes and have a problem solving attitude.  

You can also help your organization by giving your leaders mindful leadership skills and attitudes and having open, transparent conversations about what THEY are fearing too.  Leaders do not purposefully try to hurt employees and make their lives difficult by changing things. Mindful leadership is about leading with heart.  And when that happens, even if a huge downsizing is the change occurring, employees will respect the leaders and continue to be cheerleaders for the organization.

Difficult changes are inevitable in business.  Resistance resulting from the changes is not.

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